SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) – A former Westfield Police Detective pleaded not guilty Thursday morning in Hampden Superior Court on a murder charge in connection with the death of his wife.
Charges for Brian Fanion
On Wednesday a Hampden County Grand Jury issued an indictment against Brian Fanion for murder in the first degree. He was arrested at his home shortly after by Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit attached to the Hampden District Attorney’s Office along with members from the Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section.
He was charged with first-degree murder for the death of his wife Amy Fanion, who died last year on May 8. He is being held without the right to bail.
When Brian retired last year, he was an evidence room detective in the Westfield Police Department. He was allegedly home for a lunch break on May 8, 2018, when he and his wife got into an argument.
“This man (Brian Fanion) was having an affair with a woman at the time. The affair began early March and that’s when they became intimate. The intimacy grew as time went on. Mr. Fanion expressed concerns about getting a divorce from his wife for several reasons.”Mary Sandstrom, Assistant District Attorney
Sandstrom said that Fanion did not want to give up half of his pension to his wife. The Assistant DA cited internet searches on Brian’s work computer at the Westfield Police Department that included the effects of divorce on a pension.
Investigators also allegedly found video internet searches were done for “GSR,” also known as gunshot residue, days and hours before Amy’s death. Sandstrom claims that Brian would not have had to look up those videos at work because he was not assigned to any investigations during that time period relating to gunshot residue.
Other searches on that computer included household poisons and other things that people could easily overdose on, according to Sandstrom.
Death of Amy Fanion
Brian’s attorney Jeffrey Brown argued that there never was an affair and that Amy struggled with anxiety throughout her life. Brown referred to a diary of Amy’s that contained many religious entries. The final entry in the diary was about death, according to Brown.
Amy’s death was initially ruled a suicide, by a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Brian’s department-issued handgun was the weapon used. The toxicology report stated that there were no substances found in Amy’s system.
But, after 17 months of investigation, Brian was arrested and formally charged with first-degree murder.
The prosecution stated that Amy’s gunshot wound to her head was not consistent with suicide. Sandstrom said, however, that the wound is consistent with the gun being held 18 inches away from Amy’s head when it went off.
“The evidence, in total, amounted for us, as prosecutors, as enough information to present to a grand jury and have confidence that we could prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt. It is a lengthy investigation with various aspects involving expert evidence. We believe that there are various dimensions to the case that once we present it to a jury, Mr. Fanion will be found guilty.”Anthony Gulluni, Hampden District Attorney
Brian Fanion Court Arraignment
Brown read a statement in the courtroom from Amy’s immediate and extended family that said they support Brian, and they believe Amy’s death was, in fact, a suicide.
As Brian Fanion was being led away in handcuffs, he turned around and said something to his family that was seated behind him in the courtroom.
He is also listed on the City of Westfield’s website as the mayors’ appointed member of the Retirement Board.
Brian Fanion will be in court for a pretrial hearing on January 9.