Fairbanks family reacts to sentencingMahnomen, MN (WDAY TV) - Thomas Fairbanks will spend the rest of his life in prison without the chance for parole for killing Deputy Chris Dewey. For the Dewey family, they say justice is done, but the Fairbanks family says it's not over, the sentence is not fair, and they plan to appeal.
Thomas Fairbanks will spend the rest of his life in prison without the chance for parole for killing Deputy Chris Dewey. The judge also sentenced Fairbanks to 2 consecutive 10 year terms, one for shooting at deputies in the front of the house, and one for shooting at Tribal officers in the back of the house. He also faces concurrent sentences for failing to assist Dewey after he was shot, trying to steal Dewey's squad car, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
For the Dewey family, they say justice is done, but the Fairbanks family says it's not over, the sentence is not fair, and they plan to appeal.
Officers from all over the state and family members of both sides packed the courtroom and in to the hallway as Thomas Fairbanks learned his fate. Life in Prison plus 20 years without the possibility of parole, a sentence Fairbanks sister and mother say is unfair.
Bobbi Fairbanks – Thomas Fairbanks’ Mother: "There were a couple of natives that went on the stand, they weren't police officers they were something else, but they lied about my son shooting towards them."
The family acknowledges the shooting of Deputy Dewey happened but says the conviction on 1st degree murder and the life sentence are unjust. Thomas Fairbanks, was also charged with multiple assault charges for firing at officers. Charges his family believes should have been dropped.
Rachel Fairbanks – Thomas Fairbanks’ Sister: "It wasn't about did he or did he not do it, it was about having a fair trial. If they would have taken in to account, are we going to give this person a fair trial, he still would have done most of his life."
It’s been an equally long two years for the close knit Mahnomen Sheriff's department. Sheriff Doug Krier says he and his deputies can finally put this tragedy to rest.
Doug Krier – Mahonmen County Sheriff: "Our norm is going to be different from what it was before. So I think were going to be able to move on now."
Emily Dewey, Chris Dewey’s widow and family members shied away from cameras as she walked out of the courtroom and declined to talk. But its the closing of a chapter for the ones who knew Chris, and the opening of the long process of likely appeals for the Fairbanks family.
Rachel Fairbanks: "She's lost a son, I've lost a brother. There's victims all the way around no matter which way you look at it."
Fairbanks will be sent to the St. Cloud state penitentiary.