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Indiana Softball Coach Convicted In Plot To Kill Fellow Coach's Ex-Boyfriend

The former assistant coach of a high school softball team is now the second woman convicted in the murder of the head coach's ex-boyfriend.

By Megan Carpentier
Woman Convicted In Plot To Kill Friend's Ex-Boyfriend

An Indiana softball coach is now the second woman to be convicted in the shooting death of her friend's ex-boyfriend — and a third woman is set to stand trial in his slaying.

Shelby Nichole Hiestand, 20, was convicted on Wednesday in Jay Circuit Court in Portland — about 90 miles northeast of Indianapolis, near the Ohio border — of the murder of 31-year-old Shea Michael Briar on Jan. 12, 2020, the Muncie Star Press reported.

Hiestand had been, at the time of her arrest, the assistant coach of the Fort Recovery High School softball team in neighboring Ohio, serving under head coach Esther Jane Stephen, who was Briar's ex-girlfriend and the mother of his child.

Stephen, 30, was convicted of murder in Briar's death on March 18, according to ABC affiliate WPTA.

Hannah L. Knapke, a former player on the Fort Recovery girls softball team, was also charged with murder in Briar's death. the 19-year-old is scheduled to be tried on Nov. 15, according to the Star Press.

Investigators' statements previously reported by CBS affiliate WHIO in Dayton, state that the head coach was angry that Briar had filed legal documents to obtain more parental time with their child and to change her last name. 

In testimony presented at her trial, Stephen confessed to investigators that they'd used Knapke's van to pick Briar up late on Jan. 11, 2020, and Hiestand had procured the rifle used to shoot him, according to The Daily Standard, The three women, she reportedly told Jay County Sheriff's Office detectives, drove around with Briar until they reached a bridge on a deserted road. She distracted him while Knapke and Hiestand exited the van and took out the rifle; Hiestand shot Briar in the back as Stephen and Briar were walking off by themselves. The trio reportedly then threw Briar's cell phone in the water under the bridge.

Briar was found, still alive, lying in the road by a passerby at 2 a.m. on Jan. 12, 2020, according to CBS affiliate WANE in Fort Wayne. He was first taken to a local hospital then transferred to a larger facility in Fort Wayne, where he died.

On May 4, Stephen was handed a 55-year sentence, according to the Star Press.

Heistand, like Stephen before her, now faces a maximum sentence of up to 65 years when she returns to court to be sentenced in September.