SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - A retired Westfield detective denies the charges that he killed his wife and staged it as a suicide.

Brian Fanion pleaded not guilty to murder charges in Hampden Superior court this morning and remains behind bars tonight, but Fanion has a lot support from his late wife Amy Fanion's family.

What was originally written as a letter to the D.A., which seemed to serve as a family statement, was read aloud by Brian Fanion's defense attorney.

The letter, written on behalf of the immediate and extended family of Amy Fanion, was a message that they stand behind Brian.

"We wish to extend our complete and unfailing support for Brian Fanion, her husband, as this investigation precedes," defense attorney Jeffrey Brown read.

Defense attorney Jeffrey Brown reading a letter in court on behalf of his client, retired Westfield Detective Brian Fanion.

That letter was written by the family of Brian's late wife, Amy, who died in their home more than a year ago.

"We assert that Amy took her own life on May 8, 2018 and thus we are certain that her husband, Brian, did not take her life," continued Brown.

It's in direct contrast to evidence the Hampden County D.A. presented just moments before to a full courtroom.

A.D.A. Mary Sandstrom claimed Brian was having an affair, citing his internet searches they found, which suggested he didn't want to share retirement with Amy.

"There were several searches that took place starting in March of 2018, notably detailing the effects of divorce on pension," stated Sandstrom.

Sandstrom says Brian also was not working on any police cases related to gunshot residue when he allegedly searched for that online too.

"This defendant was searching for a GSR videos and he has no reason to search for those videos," said Sandstrom.

Sandstrom says Amy's bullet wound was not consistent with a self-inflicted shot, which the defense refuted.

Brown also cited personal journal entries that implied Amy was depressed, something Amy's own family appeared to back up in their letter to the D.A.

"We are privy to the details of their relationship and to the issues they face both as individuals and as a couple," says Brown.

District Attorney Anthony Gulluni, speaking to Western Mass News, says they have to proceed with the case despite the disapproval from their victim's family.

"We had to make a decision based on the evidence and this is where the evidence let us," added Gulluni.

Brian Fanion is being held without bail.

His next court appearance is a pretrial hearing set for January 9.

Copyright 2019 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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