By Ann Jantz
Rocket Miner/Via Wyoming News Exchange
ROCK SPRINGS — A jury found Bradley Ross Fairbourn guilty Thursday of killing one woman and stabbing another during a knife attack at the Quality Inn on June 23, 2016.
The 20-year-old Utah man was found guilty of the first-degree murder of Naisha Rae Story and the first-degree attempted murder of Linda Natalia Arce. The 12-person jury came back at 2:25 p.m. Thursday following almost five and a half hours of deliberation.
Families of both the defendant and the victim broke down in tears when the verdict was read. Fairbourn was stoic and did not acknowledge his family as he was led out of the courtroom. After 3ird District Court Judge Richard Lavery gaveled the end of the proceeding, Story’s family crossed the courtroom aisle and embraced Fairbourn’s family, offering their condolences.
Sweetwater County Attorney Dan Erramouspe said it was a “proper” verdict. He was pleased with the jury’s attentiveness, saying the jury members seemed to follow the proceedings and go through the evidence very carefully.
Erramouspe noted the sentencing will be scheduled after a pre-sentence investigation is completed, which will be in about 60 days. Fairbourn, who chose not to have the jury consider a lesser offense during deliberations, now faces a maximum penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Defense attorney Rob Oldham was asked to comment but said he could not, pending sentencing and the appeals process.
Justice for Naisha
Diane Story and Lance Story, mother and father of Naisha Story, spoke to the Rocker-Miner following the verdict. They both said justice was served for their daughter, but in the end no one won.
Diane Story said she and her family still have “so many questions.” She said while they all hurt from the loss of their daughter, they also feel hurt for Fairbourn’s family.
“I’m happy it is a guilty verdict but sad, too. Sad for the family,” she said. “I cried with Bradley’s mom all week and prayed for answers and justice.”
Diane Story said she has forgiveness for Fairbourn and hopes he can come to terms with what he has done.
“For Bradley, if he can come to grips with what he did, there is still hope for him,” she said.
The Story family created a poster of Naisha Story they were hoping to show during the trial. Diane Story said nobody in the courtroom ever saw her when she was alive. She described her daughter as a vibrant, loving mother and felt it was important for people to see her not in death but in life.
Lance Story walked out of the courtroom as the sun began to shine in Green River. He said the sun was shining today in more ways than one.
He said the verdict provides justice for his daughter and closure for his family. It, however, is also a sad moment for both families. He credited his wife for her strength.
Lance Story said they were headed over to Rock Springs to visit the police who conducted the investigation to thank them for the job they did. He was not sure how he would be able to express how thankful he is.
“But I am going to try,” he added.