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'Vigilante' James Fairbanks, who killed sex offender, gets 40-70 years in prison

Posted at 6:16 PM, Jul 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-14 20:24:59-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — James Fairbanks, convicted of killing a sex offender, and then later sending a letter to the media about committing the crime, was given a lofty sentence in Douglas County District Court Wednesday. He received 40-70 years combined on two charges, including second degree murder.

“He wanted publicity, he wanted to take justice into his own hands, and that’s what he did," said Deputy County Attorney Brenda Beadle.

Fairbanks will be spending the next two decades in prison after the 40-to-70 year sentence from District Court Judge Russell Bowie Wednesday for the murder of Mattieo Condoluci.

Fairbanks is credited with 421 days served and with Nebraska Good Time laws, he could serve as little as 20 years.

“Over the next 20 years, we don’t expect him to die in prison so he will be able to get out. He will hopefully be able to see his grandkids. His kids will be later on in years but he does have something to look forward to. He’s got some hope,” said Matthew Burns.

The case is notable because several days after the murder, Fairbanks emailed Omaha media, including 3 News Now, anonymously confessing.

Condoluci was previously convicted of sex crimes towards children, and Fairbanks wrote in the email he didn’t want it to happen again.

The defense argued the letter showed he was taking accountability, and was now remorseful.

“So if you ask Mr. Fairbanks, I think he would say I probably could have taken a better course of action then, proceeding over the guys house and confronting him,” said Burns.

But the Douglas County Attorney’s office said it showed Fairbanks, who argued self-defense, planned to confront and shoot Condoluci..

The case split Condoluci kids, with his daughter, Amanda Henry, saying she was raped by her father and wanted a light sentence.

“I wish the sentencing was a little less,” said Henry.

Fairbanks also argued that he confronted Condoluci because he saw a play set in the backyard.

The victim’s son, Joseph Condoluci, told the courtroom that his dad didn’t set up the play set, saying he did it instead.

“He didn’t put those there. He didn't ask to put those there. I put those there for my child,” said Joseph Condoluci.

Condoluci’s daughter says she wants to see harsher laws against sex offenders, saying the justice system didn’t punish her father enough.

“I honestly think if punishments for pedophiles were harsher, longer terms….this wouldn’t have happened,” said Henry.

But Beadle says Nebraska does have tough laws and the sentence shows people shouldn’t take the law into their own hands.

“I mean if you can imagine the slippery slope that would occur if we allowed citizens to start deciding who gets to live and who doesn’t based on what they’ve done,” said Beadle.

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