New Jersey Minister Represents Himself After Stabbing His Mistress and Fellow Minister

article-1362814-0D75ECC6000005DC-590_224x289article-1362814-0D75ECCA000005DC-68_224x289Rev. Edward Fairley, a New Jersey Minister, is representing himself in a bizarre murder case where he stands accused of the attempted murder of his long-time mistress and fellow minister the Koinonia and Christian Ministries. Fairley, 59, is not denying that he viciously stabbed Simone Shields, 52, while she was getting her hair done. He is arguing to the jury that he should only be convicted of aggravated assault rather than attempted murder because he lacked premeditation.


This is a case that well supports the saying that “a man who represents himself has a fool for a lawyer.” In a case turning on motive and state of mind, it is particularly useful to have a third person making the argument and examining witnesses. However, Fairley has insisted on self-representation.

He has a tough case and tough client to be sure. He essentially admitted to the stabbing in his opening statement and put his entire strategy on securing an aggravated assault conviction rather than attempted murder. However, the New Jersey law and jury instruction allows for a finding of attempted murder when the defendant is shown beyond a reasonable doubt to have:

(1) Purposely engaged in conduct which was intended to cause the death of the victim, if the attendant circumstances were as a reasonable person would believe them to be;
[or]
[Attempt-When Causing a Particular Result is an Element of the Crime]
(2) Did or omitted to do anything with the purpose of causing the death of the victim without further conduct on (his/her) part.
[or]
[Attempt-Substantial Step]
(3) Purposely did or omitted to do anything which, under the circumstances as a reasonable person would believe them to be, is an act or omission constituting a substantial step in a course of conduct planned to culminate in (his/her) causing the death of the victim.

That would seem to fit the facts as publicly reported. Fairley allegedly stalked Shields and said that “she has to die” before stabbing her 27 times in 2011. He called ahead to the home where she was having her hair done to confirm when she would be there.

While Rev. Fairley was married and ministering others on the biblically correct life, he had had an affair with his fellow minister for over 20 years. Neither seemed to view that as incompatible with their day jobs.

Fairley just walked into the home and proceeded without warning to stab Shields almost three dozen times in the face and chest. It is astonishing that she survived. He was later found still carrying the knife and covered in Shields’ blood down the street.

This is not the first violent assault for Fairley. Fifteen years ago, he was convicted of an attack on his wife. The former marine was a Baptist minister at the time and broke into his estranged wife’s apartment and . . . you guessed it . . . stabbed her. He served six years in prison.

It will be interesting to see if the prosecutors try to get the earlier conviction admitted as evidence of modus operandi or whether Fairley will put himself on the stand.

Source: NJ

22 thoughts on “New Jersey Minister Represents Himself After Stabbing His Mistress and Fellow Minister

  1. 27 times.
    Repeat offender.
    Yep.
    That “[p]urposely engaged in conduct which was intended to cause the death of the victim, if the attendant circumstances were as a reasonable person would believe them to be” hurdle is going to be pretty easy for the prosecution to clear.

  2. There is one possible defense since he was a Marine. He was either a piss poor Jarhead, and slept through the part about hand to hand combat, or he could argue that since he was a Marine he could have killed her if he had really wanted to since he knew how to do it with one slice.

  3. ARE,

    Incompetence (or competence) as a killer rarely (if ever) factors in to an attempted murder or murder charge as a defense but especially so when the fact pattern reasonably demonstrates his intent by stabbing her 27 times. Mens rea is demonstrable via other means.

  4. “While Rev. Fairley was married and ministering others on the biblically correct life, he had had an affair with his fellow minister for over 20 years. Neither seemed to view that as incompatible with their day jobs.”

    **************************

    No surprise here. For some, religion is the biggest racket in town.

  5. Around here, every third person calls themselves reverend. Interestingly, people take them seriously. Well, a lot of people.

  6. This is a case that well supports the saying that “a man who represents himself has a fool for a lawyer.”

    Every case has a losing lawyer, so, some clients have losers for counsel.

    Fools and losers, what a concept for a legal gameboard like monoploy.

  7. Under the facts of this case, I doubt that it would matter who defended him. If there are possible negotiations for a plea bargain, however, then he’d best get himself top of the line counsel. Otherwise he can be a jailhouse preacher for a long, long time. And Oh, BTW, if he ever is out again: Do not date or marry this guy. And make sure he gets finger food.

  8. “Around here, every third person calls themselves reverend.”

    I suppose people like to take a stab at being a minister.

  9. 27 stabs with a knife he carried in after confirming when she would be there. The call and knife suggest premeditation. The 27 stabs suggest an attempt at murder. This guy needs to be take off the streets.

  10. Malisha is right. These guys are dominance freaks who prey on the multi-damaged females in their ‘flock’, who, for some reason, actually I think it’s terminally low self-esteem, convince themselves it has something to do with the will of God.

  11. “convince themselves it has something to do with the will of God.” Oh yeah, it’s because Elmer Gantry Jr. has told them so.

    Sling Trebuchet: good one.

  12. DonS, these guys present THEMSELVES as the victims. The more they do to others, the more “poor me” they espouse. WOmen who fall prey to it the most tend to be those who have, in their history, multiple abusers, starting with male authority figures in the nuclear family. That’s a huge damn sample, too. Go into any women’s prison and throw a stone and you will hit someone who fits the profile. And she’s been hit by many stones already.

  13. Pete, you are obviously a Species-ist! :-( I’d say “alienist” but that has a different meaning.

    (“The Alienist” is the title of a really good book consistent with the original meaning BTW.)

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