Eastern Indiana woman gets 55 years in slaying of child’s father

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A judge sentenced an eastern Indiana woman to 55 years in prison Tuesday after a jury convicted her of murder in the shooting death of her child’s father.

A jury found Esther J. Stephen, 30, of Portland guilty of murder in March in the Jan. 12, 2020, shooting death of Shea Michael Briar, 31.

Court documents said Stephen and 19-year-old Shelby Hiestand picked up Briar at his Portland home and drove him to a rural bridge. Once there, Stephen distracted Briar while Hiestand shot him in the back with a .22-caliber rifle.

Court records show Stephen and Briar were in a custody battle over a child. Briar intended to establish paternity for the child, petitioned for child custody, and filed to provide support, parenting time, and a name change for the child.

Hiestand is set to stand trial Aug. 9.

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