The long-awaited murder trial of Tyon Shuron, who is accused of killing Richmond, Maine photographer Andrew Sherman in 2019, began this week, bringing new details to light about the alleged crime.
Sherman, 48, was found dead in his Richmond home on October 11, 2019 by a concerned friend, though authorities now believe he was killed around September 29, nearly two weeks prior, shot multiple times.
Shuron, 42 of Augusta, was arrested in February 2020 and charged with murder. His ex-girlfriend, Chanda Lilly, 33, was also arrested a month later and initially charged with felony murder, but pleaded guilty this week to a reduced charge of robbery. As part of a plea deal, Lilly agreed to testify against Shuron in exchange for a reduced sentence.
In opening arguments at Shuron's trial in Sagadahoc County Superior Court, prosecutors laid out an alleged sequence of events stemming from jealousy and anger over provocative photos Sherman had taken of Lilly.
According to the prosecution, Lilly first connected with Sherman in 2019 through Model Mayhem. She signed a contract agreeing to pose for photos that would become part of Sherman's personal collection.
Lilly then participated in multiple photo shoots with Sherman over the next few months, both at his Richmond residence and her home in Augusta.
But Shuron, who was in a relationship with Lilly at the time, vehemently disapproved of her modeling for the suggestive photos, prosecutors said.
Tensions came to a head in September 2019 during one of the shoots at Lilly's home. Shuron allegedly interrupted the session and got into a heated argument with Lilly about ending her participation.
A short time later, Lilly called Sherman and asked him to return the revealing photos and videos of her that he had taken. Sherman declined, saying she had signed a contract and he could not hand over his personal collection.
Prosecutors allege that Shuron overheard the phone call and became enraged at Sherman's response. Just hours after the call, Shuron and Lilly drove to Sherman's house in Richmond under the cover of night.
Shuron reportedly provided Lilly with disguises for them to wear and shoes that would not leave identifiable prints. They entered Sherman's home and confronted the photographer in his bedroom.
Lilly's testimony, which she will give as part of her plea deal, is expected to allege that Shuron angrily demanded Lilly's photos while Sherman yelled at them to leave his house. When Sherman refused to hand over the images, Shuron allegedly shot him in the arm.
Shuron then ordered Lilly to get Sherman off the bed. She complied, standing him against the wall, at which point Shuron allegedly shot Sherman in the forehead at point-blank range.
The pair quickly collected shell casings and a spent bullet before fleeing with bags of Sherman's possessions, according to Lilly's account. She claims Shuron later disposed of what sounded like camera equipment and drove her home.
The defense, however, vigorously contested Lilly's version of events during opening statements. Shuron's attorney, Darrick Banda, portrayed Lilly as an unreliable witness with a history of mental illness and issues with honesty.
Even Sherman's own mother came under scrutiny by the defense after giving inconsistent statements about when she last saw her son alive.
The trial is expected to finally expose key facts about the mysterious murder, which has remained unresolved for nearly three years after significant pandemic-related delays. Sherman's family and friends hope it will bring some long-awaited answers and justice.