Jurors have found Daniel Blair guilty of murder for conspiring to kill the husband of his lover.|
The trial in Boone County District Court ended today with closing arguments and the guilty verdict, delivered early this afternoon.
On May 28, 2007, Shane Hill was shot to death at a sheep farm near Ogden. Police allege that Aron Moss shot him from 250 feet away where he and Blair were hiding in a dilapidated farm house.
Blair, who allegedly was having an affair with Shane Hill's wife, Jessica, is accused of plotting to murder Shane Hill well in advance with her help. All three have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.
Blair was been charged with first-degree murder. He now faces the possibility of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Luke Jennett can be reached at 232-2161, Ext. 343, or firstname.lastname@example.org
Blair sentencing scheduled for March 15
By Luke Jennett The Tribune
After two hours of deliberation, the jury in the trial of Daniel Blair returned a verdict of guilty of first-degree murder.
District court judge David Danilson has scheduled sentencing for Friday, March 14 at 1:15 p.m. in Boone County.
After the court was adjourned, emotion erupted on both sides of the courtroom.
Patricia Hill, the mother of victim Michael Shane Hill, began to weep, and family members exchanged embraces.
As prosecuting attorneys Scott Brown and Adria Stonehocker approached the family, Patricia Hill shook Browns hand and said, Thank you, before hugging Stonehocker.
Across the aisle, Tom Blair, who testified for the prosecution in the trial against his son, declined to comment.
For the first time since the trial began, Daniel Blair was led out of the courtroom with his hands cuffed behind his back. He showed no discernable reaction as Danilson pronounced the verdict, and only stared as the jurors were called upon one by one to confirm their votes.
First degree murder, a class A felony, carries a potential sentence of life imprisonment.
At the trials closing, Danilson informed Blair and his attorneys he had up until five days before sentencing to file a motion in arrest of judgment against the verdict.
One of Blairs attorneys, Annette Boehlje, said they hadnt determined yet if they would file one, or if the verdict would be further appealed after sentencing.
This has really been a tragedy for all the families involved, Danny Blairs family and Shane Hills family, she said. S
tonehocker and Brown said they were pleased with the verdict and were happy for Shane Hills family.
Brown said the statement Blair made to police, shown on video at the trial, had been a major key to the prosecution.
Relatives of Shane Hill have declined to comment for the time being, saying they would wait until all three trials have finished before making any statements.
Final arguments preceded the announcement of the verdict.
The prosecutions case was capped by Brown, who argued that although Blair may not have pulled the trigger, he had still demonstrated malice aforethought and, by his own confession, had participated in the killing.
But for Dan Blair, Shane Hill would still be alive, Brown said.
The defenses statement, delivered by Boehlje, argued that the state hadnt proven Blairs presence at the murder with corroborating evidence, and Blair could not be convicted solely on his confession.
Danny Blair cannot be convicted merely by what he says, said Boehlje. The state has to prove with other evidence that Danny Blair committed this offense...Has the state even really shown that he was there? Apart from Dannys statement, they havent proven that.
The videotaped statement was touched on repeatedly by both sides in closing.
In the interview with police, Blair, who was not yet in custody, revealed details about the crime that led investigators to uncovering corroborating evidence, such as recovering a discarded bullet shell from a ditch and tracking down the location of the rifle.
Stonehocker said it was yet unknown whether the taped interview would be shown in the remaining two trials. Blair is one of three people charged with Shane Hills murder.
Aron Moss, Blairs roommate at the time of the murder and alleged triggerman in the killing, is currently scheduled to go before a jury March 25 at 9 a.m., but his attorneys have laid the groundwork for a possible change of venue. The trial for Jessica Hill, Shane Hills wife and alleged co-conspirator in a plot to murder him, has been set for April 29 at 9 a.m. Luke Jennett can be reached at 232-2161, Ext. 343, or email@example.com.