On Thursday, a Nebraska man has made a plea in last year’s death of his neighbor, who was a sex offender convicted of abusing two children.
James Fairbanks, 44, pleaded no contest to second-degree murder in the May 2020 shooting death of Mattieo Condoluci, 64. Fairbanks and his attorney previously planned to present a self-defense case, claiming a 300-pound Condoluci had charged at Fairbanks after Fairbanks told him to stay away from children, according to the Omaha World-Herald.
Fairbanks reportedly learned of Condoluci’s sex offender status while researching homes to purchase or rent in the neighborhood. KETV reported that Fairbanks’ 12-year-old son was going to live with him, prompting the father to search the sex-offender registry.
Fairbanks reportedly went to the home and told Condoluci that he had children and he was moving into the neighborhood. He claimed he then told Condoluci that he better stay away from the neighborhood children, according to the World-Herald.
“He did not go over there with the intent to kill Condoluci,” Fairbanks’ attorney said, per the news outlet. “He went there only with the intent to warn him.”
Condoluci’s body was found two days after the shooting. While authorities investigated the circumstances surrounding Condoluci’s death, Fairbanks allegedly turned himself in and confessed after sending multiple outlets an email detailing why he killed the convicted sex offender.
Condoluci was convicted of attempted lewd or lascivious assault upon a child in 1994 in Florida and sexually assaulting a teen girl in Nebraska in 2007. In the Nebraska case, Condoluci spent 2.5 years in jail.
The victim in the Florida case reportedly died of a drug overdose in 2017. The man’s mother told KETV that she attributed his substance abuse issues to the sexual trauma he endured as a child.
In the deceased man’s case, Condoluci accepted a plea deal and served four years’ probation. The man’s mother explained that prosecutors offered the deal because they believed it would’ve been difficult to convict Condoluci.
Speaking to the news outlet, Fairbanks recalled being a child and walking in on someone close to him being sexually assaulted. He also claimed that he has seen how sexual trauma affects children due to his prior work in correctional facilities and group homes.
Fairbanks alleged that days before the shooting, he caught Condoluci eyeing children in a driveway as he pretended to wash his car without soap or water. He also claimed there was a playset in Condoluci’s backyard. Fairbanks said the ordeal made him fearful that the registered sex offender would strike again, but he admitted he never called the police
The World-Herald had publicized photos that appear to support Fairbanks’ claim that Condoluci had a child’s playset in his backyard.
Fairbanks said the thought of Condoluci victimizing another child — compounded with the realization that Condoluci had a playset in his backyard — led him to the registered sex offender’s home with a gun in tow.
Fairbanks, who had no prior criminal history, received an outpouring of support following his arrest. One of his supporters was Condoluci’s daughter, who told the World-Herald that her father’s killer deserves probation.
Fairbanks’ sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 14. He faces 21 years to life in prison.
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[Featured image: James Fairbanks/Handout; Mattieo Condoluci/Nebraska Sex Offender Resistry]