Local professor discusses national attention of murder case against retired Westfield police officer
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - A local murder trial received national attention as the retired Westfield police officer, accused of murdering his wife, was found guilty on Wednesday.
Brian Fanion was found guilty of first-degree murder by a jury on Wednesday. His sentence, life without parole, is the mandatory sentence for his crimes. The state proved he shot and killed his wife Amy Fanion in the head back in 2018. Jurors dismissed the defense argument that she committed suicide.
The trial lasted more than three weeks and gained national attention from multiple media outlets. Western Mass News spoke with Western New England University Criminal Justice Professor Creaig Dunton as to why this case stands out.
“I think probably the biggest thing is the fact that it was a law enforcement officer involved. We usually don’t think about police engaging in that sort of behavior, that very overt criminal type of behavior,” Dunton said.
Not only was Fanion a member of law enforcement, we learned during the trial he was on his lunch break during a shift at the time of the murder. Also, the evidence in the case was unique. Prosecutors brought up Fanion’s search history as part of their case. They said he researched gun powder residue, police officers that were convicted of crimes, and more.
“I think a lot of people have always kind of operated under the assumption that the internet is private, anonymous, and it’s not. More and more of this technology is just collecting more and more information on all of us and what we do, so there is certainly this precedent for this, sort of, information being available and applicable to this crime,” Dunton added.
Dunton believes we will see things like online search histories used more and more as evidence in cases going forward.
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