A judge has ruled that Shayna Hubers, the Kentucky woman who was convicted in the shooting death of her on-again, off-again boyfriend Ryan Carter Poston, should get a new trial after officials discovered that a juror who helped find her guilty never disclosed that he was a felon.
Hubers was convicted last year of murdering Poston on Oct. 12, 2012. In a trial followed closely by the media, prosecutors alleged that Hubers shot the 29-year-old lawyer at his Highland Heights home in anger after he tried to break up with her, but Hubers claimed Poston was abusive and that she shot him in self-defense.
Jurors didn’t buy her story. They convicted her of murder and recommended that she spend 40 years in prison, but among those jurors was a convicted felon, officials say. State law prohibits felons from serving on a jury.
On Thursday Campbell County Circuit Court Judge Fred A. Stine -- the same judge who sentenced Hubers to 40 years in prison after reportedly describing Poston's killing as “cold-blooded” -- overturned the conviction and ordered that Hubers, 25, get a new trial.
The juror in question said he fell behind on child support payments more than 20 years ago, doesn’t remember pleading guilty in the case and didn’t realize he was a convicted felon.
The information only came to light after one of the lawyers involved in Hubers’ appeal recognized the juror’s name and realized she had represented him in the child support proceeding in 1992.
“This has got to be maddening for not just the prosecutor but for the judge who has to now overturn a verdict based on an inadvertent mistake,” said Dan Abrams, ABC News' chief legal analyst.
A new trial may not mean a new outcome for Hubers, Abrams added.
“Since there was a conviction in the first case, the defense can now review their strategy and try to fine-tune it, possibly make some changes, but in the end there is still a lot of evidence against her,” he said.
In a statement, Poston’s family said it respected the judge’s decision, adding: “If we must endure another trial we do so with absolute confidence that justice shall again be served.”
Hubers' bizarre behavior during a police interrogation after the killing brought more focus to the case.
“He’s very vain. One of our last conversations we had that was good was that he wants to get a nose job,” Hubers was recorded telling police as she spoke of shooting Poston. “And I shot him right here. I gave him his nose job he wanted. I broke it.”
Highland Heights Police Chief Bill Birkenhauer described his reaction to her comments in an interview last year with ABC News’ “20/20.”
“My jaw dropped, you know? It was like, ‘Did she just really say that?” he said.
And while she was awaiting interrogation, she asked a series of questions about life behind bars -- including whether she would be allowed to shower or keep her phone, authorities said. Video from the interrogation room showed her singing and dancing.