Retired Mass. detective accused of staging wife’s suicide to avoid divorce

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/CNN) - Prosecutors allege a retired Massachusetts detective killed his wife because he was having an affair and wanted to avoid a divorce that would impact his pension.

Brian Fanion, 55, (center) pleaded not guilty to murder charges in the May 2018 death of his 51-year-old wife, Amy Fanion. (Source: WGGB/CNN)

Brian Fanion, 55, pleaded not guilty to murder charges in the May 2018 death of his 51-year-old wife, Amy Fanion, which was originally reported as a suicide.

Prosecutors with the Hampden County District Attorney’s office say Brian Fanion staged his wife’s suicide. They say law enforcement initially had concerns about the reported self-inflicted gunshot wound, and investigation only confirmed their suspicions.

Assistant District Attorney Mary Sandstrom says none of the telltale signs of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, including burned hair, soot residue and a straight bullet trajectory, were found on Amy Fanion.

"She had no singeing of the hair to suggest close-range to her head,” said Sandstrom in court. “At the very least, this gun was fired 18 inches away from her head.”

Sandstrom also says the testimony from Brian Fanion was inconsistent with the suicide he claimed to witness.

"He’s bringing the gun up to his temple. He’s firing that gun in a straightforward motion across the head,” she said in court. “Amy Fanion’s wound is instead above and behind her ear and traveling in a downward angle.”

The prosecution claims Brian Fanion was planning to retire from the Westfield Police Department around the time his wife died in their home. They say their team found evidence of an affair with another woman beginning in early March 2018.

“He didn't want to get divorced because that could impact or ruin his pension,” said Sandstrom in court.

Brian Fanion also allegedly used his devices for suspicious searches that prosecutors say point to murder in the days and hours before his wife’s death.

These searches included looking up the medical examiner’s office, the forensic biologist section of the medical examiner’s office and household items people could overdose on.

"There was only one way to enjoy his retirement, to go on with his life and new love affair. That was through murdering Amy Fanion,” said Sandstrom in court.

However, the defense claims the science is on Brian Fanion’s side. His wife’s death was determined to be undetermined by the state’s medical examiner’s office.

He also has the support of his late wife’s family, who maintain Amy Fanion did die by suicide.

Attorney Jeffrey Brown says his client is ready for his day in court.

“He looks forward to it because he didn’t do it,” said Brown in court.

Brian Fanion is being held without bail. He is due back in court Jan. 9 for a pre-trial hearing.

Copyright 2019 WGGB via CNN. All rights reserved.