Hoisington resident Shawn Ney, awaiting trial for murder and attempted murder, died early Saturday at the Barton County Jail.
Ney shot his estranged wife Sarah Ney and fatally shot her brother-in-law Steven Calderwood, who she reportedly planned to leave her husband for, on July 10, 2010. His trial was schedule to take place next month.
Barton County Sheriff Greg Armstrong confirmed Shawn Ney’s death, which was discovered around 1 a.m. or earlier on Saturday, but declined to provide additional information. An investigation is being conducted by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, and future statements must be cleared by the KBI, he said. In answer to a question, the sheriff did say that Ney’s death was not the result of an altercation.
Ney, whose age was listed as 33 in a story published in the Great Bend Tribune on Sept. 2, shot Sarah Ney and Steven Calderwood with a shotgun at a family member’s house at 48 NE 20 Road. He then returned to his home in Hoisington, which he set on fire during a standoff with law enforcement.
The facts of the shootings weren’t disputed, and Ney’s attorney Robert Anderson had filed notification that he expected to base his defense on his client’s mental instability.
The Neys’ marriage of 10 years was coming to an end in the summer of 2010, according to Sarah Ney’s testimony at the preliminary hearing. She told Shawn she was leaving to be with Calderwood, who was married to her sister.
Shawn tried to talk her out of it. "He said I was messing up two families," Sarah said. He called and sent text messages over his cell phone, saying he loved her. "Then he sent me a picture of an empty pill bottle." The message with that photo read, "You pushed me to my breaking point," and "I thought you loved me." It was signed LPN, because Shawn had just finished nursing school.
After shooting Sarah Ney and Calderwood, Shawn Ney fled to his house in Hoisington, and reportedly tried to kill himself. His standoff with law enforcement ended after he set the house on fire, and he was on suicide watch after his arrest.