NEWPORT, Ky. - Shayna Hubers testified Thursday that before she shot her boyfriend, he pointed the gun at her and said he could kill her and get away with it.
Hubers said there was a violent struggle between her and Ryan Poston leading up to the shooting in his Highland Heights condo in 2012.
Hubers, testifying for a second day in her murder retrial, said Poston threw her across a room and grabbed her hair, leaving Hubers afraid he might break her neck.
Hubers said she ended up sitting on the floor near the kitchen table and was stunned by what happened next.
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“I recall Ryan standing over me and grabbing the gun that was sitting on the table and pointing it at me and saying, ‘I could just kill you right now and get away with it. Nobody would even know,’" Hubers said.
“I was shocked. I was afraid.”
But Poston didn’t shoot. Instead, he set the gun back on the table and continued to yell hurtful things at her, Hubers said. Poston was in a chair at the kitchen table and Hubers said he started to stand up.
“He was reaching across the table and I don’t know if he was reaching for the gun or reaching for me, but I’m still sitting on the floor at this point in time and I got up off the floor and I grabbed the gun and I shot him,” she said.
Hubers shot Poston six times and she said the first shot made Poston cry out like an animal.
“When he was first shot, he let out a really loud noise that sounded like an animal. It sounded like a bear. Some type of wild animal. It really freaked me out," she said.
After being arrested, Hubers made a rambling videotaped statement to Highland Heights police. That was the focus of Commonwealth Attorney Michelle Snodgrass’ cross-examination Thursday.
Snodgrass: "You saw the video of yourself and you told officers that it was too painful for you to sit and watch him twitch. So what did you do, Miss Hubers? You said you cared enough about Mr. Poston that you put him out of his misery."
Hubers: "I said that."
Snodgrass: "You heard yourself say, 'I better not go to jail'?"
Snodgrass: "And because you didn't want to watch him die, you shot him until you knew he was dead."
Hubers: "I said those things."
The cross-examination was long and detailed, exploring the couple’s relationship and sex life. In her attorney's direct examination, Hubers finally detailed in her own words the assault she says led to her shooting Poston.
Hubers said the day of the shooting began with Poston calling her mother stupid and crazy. Then, she said, he called her crazy, unstable and deranged. Hubers said when she went to leave his condo, Poston came at her with eyes that looked completely black.
Things quickly got violent, she said.
“He just grabbed onto my body, onto my person, with both hands,” Hubers said. “He picked me up from an awkward angle and threw me from the doorway of his bedroom into the other room all the way to the edge of the short sofa."
Poston was 6-feet, 2-inches. Hubers is 5-8.
In the ensuing struggle, Hubers said Poston fell on her and pinned her against a footstool. Hubers said he grabbed her hair and was screaming into her left ear.
“I thought that he was going to snap my neck because of the way he was jerking my head around,” she said. “He had all of his weight on me."
Hubers said she fell against TVs, but crime scene pictures show they weren’t disturbed. Hubers said Poston chased her and they began wrestling standing up.
“It was horrible … I went to punch him with my right arm and when I went to punch him I believe I knocked his glasses off his face,” she said.
She said the next thing she remembers is sitting on her bottom near the dining room table with Poston standing over her. But, on cross-examination, Snodgrass zeroed on what she called inconsistencies in that story.
Snodgrass: “In your statement, you never mentioned being bent over a stool. You never mentioned feeling like your neck was going to be broken. Did you?”
Hubers: “I think I said he had my face. That’s what I was talking about. I just didn’t have the verbiage or the words to put it there.“
Hubers finished her testimony about 4:15 p.m. and the retrial recessed for the day. It will resume at 11 a.m. Friday.
Hubers surprised the courtroom when she took the stand Wednesday afternoon in her own defense. She had not testified in her 2015 trial.
The defense's case hinges on Hubers' claims that Poston regularly abused her during their 18-month relationship. Hubers took the stand to counter the prosecution’s depiction of her as a dangerously obsessed hanger-on who preferred having a dead boyfriend rather than one who was dead-set on breaking up with her.
The idea was to show Hubers as a traumatized abuse victim who killed her abuser to save her own life.
“There is no question about what happened,” long-time local attorney Marty Pinales, who is not involved in the trial, told WCPO Wednesday. “The only issue before the jury is why it happened. What the defense wants to do is have the jury like her.”
Hubers was convicted in 2015 of murder and sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Hubers was granted a retrial on the revelation that one of her jurors was a convicted felon.
Go here for a recap of Hubers' testimony Wednesday.