‘She got to gun first’: Lawyer claims struggle before fatal shooting

Dawn Shearer

By  Lauren Pack

A chaotic, confusing scene was painted by both police and the defense attorney for a woman who was arrested last week after calling 911 and saying she had shot her ex-husband. Dawn Schearer told police she and her ex-husband, Anthony “Tony” Schearer, had been arguing and she “made a decision that was not wise,” Middletown Police Detective Beth Stewart said.Schearer, 46, of Ellis Way, was arrested Feb. 6 after she called dispatchers and said she had shot Tony Schearer.

When police arrived, they found the Shearer residence in some disarray. There was patching on the walls, a wooden box was broken and a gun-cleaning kit was scattered around, Stewart said. Schearer said her ex-husband “had a nervous breakdown,” Stewart testified during a preliminary hearing Wednesday in Middletown Municipal Court.

Neighbors also told police they heard a disturbance at the home and saw Dawn Shearer running around her vehicle just prior to the shooting, according to Stewart.

After the hearing, defense attorney Jason Phillabaum said evidence will show a long history of domestic violence, with Dawn Schearer being the victim.

“She had a tough decision to make that day to either get injured or defend herself,” Phillabaum said, adding the gun used in the shooting belonged to Tony Shearer. “I think there is going to be information presented eventually that there were guns pointed at her, put against her at various times and that they were both going for the gun and she got to it first.”

There was some bruising and scratching on Dawn Schearer the next day when police took photographs, the detective said.

Tony Shearer was found in the living room of the residence. He had suffered on gunshot wound to the head, according to police and the Butler County Coroner’s Office. Stewart said Dawn Schearer also made a statement that she did not know what had happened.

Phillabaum unsuccessfully requested a reduction in bond, and Visiting Judge Robert Messham bound the case over to a Butler County grand jury for consideration.

The courtroom was filled with the families of both Dawn and Tony Shearer. They declined comment.

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