A Flathead County jury on Thursday evening found 37-year-old Jonathan Douglas Shaw guilty of deliberate homicide and attempted deliberate homicide in the September 2021 death of Matthew Hurley, the former manager of a Kalispell fitness center, and the shooting of gym patron William Keck in the parking lot of Fuel Fitness and Nutrition.
The verdict came in at about 7:40 p.m. following more than four hours of deliberations. Shaw was remanded to the custody of the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Sept. 21.
Judge Dan Wilson presided over the Flathead County District Court trial that began July 10. Evidence and testimony in the case spanned four days and wrapped up a day earlier than scheduled, with Shaw testifying as the defense’s only witness.
Closing arguments ended on Thursday afternoon, with deputy Flathead County attorneys Ashley Frechette and John Donovan maintaining that Shaw’s actions were not justified when he shot two people on Sept. 16, killing Hurley and injuring Keck.
Throughout the trial, they pointed to Shaw’s aggressive demeanor toward gym managers Hurley and Matthew Underhill when he fired his loaded 9mm pistol after “hearing a message he didn’t want to hear,” when the Fuel Fitness employees approached him to revoke his membership and refund his fees. Prosecutors also said that the defendant fired five shots at Keck, the gym member he engaged in a shootout with, and intended to kill him.
“The defendant testified that this was a warzone,” Frechette told jurors. “He likened it to a combat incident. This incident was a warzone of the defendant’s own making.”
Defense attorneys Colin Stephens and Paul Simon maintained throughout the trial that Shaw acted in self-defense, feeling threatened when Hurley and his assistant Underhill aggressively approached him in the parking lot, where the defendant, having recently been evicted from his Kalispell apartment, had been sleeping overnight in a parked trailer. Shaw told the jury that he thought the employees were reaching for weapons during the confrontation, prompting him to shoot Hurley four times. He later admitted he never saw any weapons.
“He was mistaken, and his actions were reasonable in light of the circumstances,” Stephens said.
Shaw also testified during the trial that Keck fired the first shot during the parking lot shootout and that he acted in self-defense.
The jury, however, sided with the county prosecutors who emphasized that the last words that Hurley heard before Shaw shot him four times was “you’re gonna die” and that his intent was to kill him when he discharged the firearm. They were also convinced that Shaw shot Keck with the intention of killing him.
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