Transient Man Convicted of Murder in Fuel Fitness Employee’s Death Seeks New Trial

Defense attorneys argue the jury was “improperly drawn” and violated Jonathan Douglas Shaw’s right to a fair and impartial jury

By Maggie Dresser
Defendant Jonathan Douglas Shaw gives testimony in Flathead County District Court on July 12, 2023. Shaw faces charges of deliberate homicide and attempted deliberate homicide after a shootout outside of Fuel Fitness gym in Kalispell on Sept. 16, 2021. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Attorneys representing a 37-year-old transient man who was convicted of murder following a 2021 shooting outside of a Kalispell fitness center have asked for a new trial, citing a “structural error” in jury pool selection.

A Flathead County jury on July 13 convicted Jonathan Douglas Shaw of a felony count of deliberate homicide and a second felony count of attempted deliberate homicide for fatally shooting the former manager of Fuel Fitness and Nutrition, Matthew Hurley, and for injuring gym patron William Keck.

According to the motion filed by Missoula-based attorneys Colin Stephens and Paul Simon, the jury was “improperly drawn” because Flathead County officials did not enforce responses from the individuals who ignored jury notices. Those who failed to respond to the notices were then removed from the jury pool, which violated the right to a fair and impartial jury.

Citing information from the Flathead County Clerk of Court’s, the motion states that, during a recent criminal jury term, approximately 7,000 jury notices were sent out to Flathead County residents, 1,500 of which were returned as undeliverable, combined with a “few hundred” individuals who did not respond.

Shaw’s legal counsel argues that, because there was no effort to require individuals to respond to the notice, their removal from the jury pool was improper.

“When the Clerk randomly pulled the names of the 100 jurors for the Jury List for the Court’s [upcoming] criminal jury term, it did not include any individual who and been sent a notice and failed to respond,” the motion states.

Attorneys argue there is no evidence that the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office made reasonable effort to ensure responses because they did not personally serve every individual, according to the motion.

The Flathead County Attorney’s Office had not filed a response motion as of Sept. 14, but the defendant’s motion stated the state has been “contacted regarding this motion and does object.”

Judge Dan Wilson on Sept. 12 ordered that Shaw’s Sept. 21 sentencing hearing be vacated and will be reset following his ruling on the motion.

Prior to the trial in July, Judge Wilson denied a change of venue motion filed by Shaw’s defense attorneys, who cited unfavorable pre-trial publicity and negative attitudes toward the homeless population.

A 12-person jury deliberated for four hours following four days of trial before unanimously convicting Shaw on July 13. He was remanded to the custody of the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office, where he remains. He faces a maximum term of life in prison.