Jury delivers guilty verdict in Maxwell AFB gate shooting case
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Upwards of two hundred cars come onto Maxwell Air Force Base per minute during morning rush hour. That's when defendant, Matthew Shashy, says he fired three shots into the ground outside the Day Street gate with a shotgun in a form of protest on Jan. 3.
Shashy believed the CIA was engaging in mental torture. Despite suffering from false fixed beliefs, Shashy was ruled competent to stand trial.
The shooting happened three days after Shashy painted anti-government graffiti outside the Alabama State Capitol, Maxwell Air Force Base and Montgomery Police Headquarters.
"Nobody paid attention to [the graffiti], and he got mad," Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Brown told the jury in closing arguments Wednesday.
Judge Myron Thompson didn't allow the defense to bring Shashy's mental state as evidence in the case.
"He was competent to stand trial, and he knew the difference between right and wrong," explained Acting U.S. Attorney Clark Morris. "His mental issues should have no bearing."
The military base went into protection mode on the day of the shooting, increasing weapon size, outfitting in helmets and protective plates. The government stated this action also proves beyond a reasonable doubt that Shashy interfered with the official business of a military installation.
"He decided to use deadly force when he wasn't recognized for his stupid protest with the graffiti," Brown told the jury.
In closing, the defense argued to the jury Shashy's intent wasn't assault but to warn others about what he perceived as government intervention.
"The government wants you to believe this wasn't a silent protest, that he took forcible action," defense attorney Susan James said to the jury.
James stated the death of Shashy's cousin exacerbated his concerns about the CIA and the harm he believed they were trying to cause him and his family.
James reiterated to the jury that Shashy didn't show up in a mask, or a hat attempting to conceal his identity before firing shots at Maxwell AFB.
Shashy left Maxwell AFB and slammed on his breaks when he saw another passenger attempting to take a picture of his tag. The driver rear-ended Shashy, and Shashy fled and drove home.
That afternoon he called 911, confessing to the graffiti and firing the shots at Maxwell AFB, triggering a twelve hour standoff. Shashy communicated with a hostage negotiator, explaining he had a bullet for every officer outside his house if they came inside.
After the standoff ended, police found multiple guns and two hundred rounds of ammunition. The defense stated it was accumulated over time by the family's avid hunters.
Shashy was calm during the duration of the trial, rarely speaking. After the verdict, Shashy's stared at the table, no longer actively listening to the court proceedings.
The jury was polled after the verdict was read, one juror became emotional when agreeing she found Shashy guilty.
Shashy was released on bond, and will remain on house arrest until his sentencing in November
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