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HomeNewsMontana NewsJudge Wilson sentences Fuel Fitness shooter to 170 years

Judge Wilson sentences Fuel Fitness shooter to 170 years

District Judge Dan Wilson handed down a combined 170-year sentence to the perpetrator of the fatal 2021 Fuel Fitness shooting in Kalispell on Thursday. In Flathead County District Court on Nov. 30, a jury declared Jonathan Douglas Shaw, 37, guilty of felony deliberate homicide and attempted deliberate homicide with weapons enhancements, following a four-day trial in July. Characterizing the act as nearly premeditated, Wilson emphasized Shaw’s determination to address perceived slights by resorting to deadly force, expressing a false sense of victimhood and threat from the outside world.

“… This act was one that was all but premeditated,” Wilson said as he handed down the sentences to Jonathan Douglas Shaw, 37, on Nov. 30 in Flathead County District Court. “It was the act of a person who was determined to somehow make his mark in this world by conflating the smallest or tiniest of social insults into a false sense of victimhood, a false sense of threat from the outside world and to vindicate his desire to exert deadly force against someone who … truly did not merit or deserve it under any circumstance.”

For the deliberate homicide charge, Judge Dan Wilson issued Shaw a 110-year sentence, and an additional 60 years for attempted deliberate homicide. Wilson ordered the sentences to run consecutively, restricting parole for 55 years, deeming Shaw a “threat and danger” to society. The incident occurred when Shaw, living in a modified trailer in the U.S. 2 parking lot of Fuel Fitness, was asked to leave by gym manager Matthew Hurley and another employee, Matthew Underhill. Following them inside, Shaw drew a gun and fatally shot Hurley four times.

Despite Shaw’s self-defense claim during the trial, Judge Wilson dismissed it as lacking credibility, attributing the act to an “overweening ego” driving him to kill over a perceived slight. Deputy County Attorney John Donovan, seeking a total of 220 years, denounced the senseless act and recommended a severe penalty. In contrast, defense attorney Colin Stephens argued for concurrent 60-year sentences and parole eligibility after 18 years, citing Shaw’s lack of criminal history.

Family and friends of the victim, Matthew Hurley, passionately testified during the sentencing. Hurley’s father, David, expressed a desire for the death penalty and described the ongoing struggle with exhaustion and frustration since his son’s murder. Hurley’s mother, Jennifer, highlighted Hurley’s rights to a continued life, work, play, and family, which were taken away senselessly. The impact on the family, including Hurley’s fiancée Jillian Keith, his sister Alexandria Jessop, and employee Matthew Underhill, was described vividly, capturing the lasting trauma and loss caused by Shaw’s actions.

By: Montana Newsroom Staff

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