James Fairbanks is a middle school employee in Omaha, Nebraska who is accused of shooting a registered sex offender to death to stop the man from reoffending and confessing about it on Facebook.
Fairbanks now stands accused of homicide in the death of Mattieo Condoluci, 64. Condoluci was found deceased at his Omaha home.
Chief Deputy Douglas County Attorney Brenda Beadle told the Omaha World-Herald that “vigilante justice” is dangerous, saying, “It’s a really dangerous thing, when people start taking law enforcement into their own hands. That’s why we have a justice system.” However, Fairbanks is getting some support online, including from the mother of one of Condoluci’s victims. “This guy needs an award, not jail time!” wrote one of many comments on the Omaha Scanner Facebook page. Some people on true crime groups have compared Fairbanks to the title character in Dexter, where a man targets criminals.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Fairbanks Is Accused of Confessing in a Facebook Post After He Became Upset After Spotting a Playground Set in Condoluci’s Backyard
Fairbanks is accused of writing a letter to the news media confessing that he killed Condoluci after noticing he had a playground set in his backyard and researching his history. The message was also left on the Omaha Scanner Facebook page.
The email was addressed “Dear media,” and read,
I am writing this email to let you know that I killed Matteio Condoluci Thursday May 14th around 9:45 p.m. While out apartment searching and checking the neighborhoods I wanted to live in I stumbled across his Sex offender registry info. I read where he had molested (raped) two children and beem (sic) convicted twice yet only served two years in prison. For RAPING CHILDREN! I seen his address was right around the block from where I was looking to move. I drove by and to my horror he was standing in his driveway pretending to wash his truck (no soap or water just a rag) while staring at a group of children playing in the street. I watched him for a few minutes and just felt sick to my stomach. He just kept staring at them. The kids thankfully left and he went inside. I went to drive away and noticed to my amazement this twice convicted sex offender had a playground set in his backyard! No fence. Just a slide and a play house. I felt sick to my stomach. Having had my own experience with these type of predators I knew the damage he would do to those kids. It agonized me for days. I couldn’t sleep. I researched him more and more and found he had victimized dozens of kids in different states. One kids (sic) mother had created a predator facebook page about him trying to warn people about him. Her son had been assaulted by him when he was 5 and the damage he did led the poor guy to die of a drug overdose years later and his mom directly bamed (sic) that incident on him… I’ve worked with kids for years who have been victimized and I couldn’t in good conscience allow him to do it to anyone else while I had the means to stop him. I’m willing to turn myself in even though I’m confident I wouldn’t be caught because its (sic) my opionion (sic) that we need to fix this in our socitey (sic). We can not let this continue to happen to out (sic) children. They must be stopped. I know in this messed up judicial system that means I will face far more severe punishment for stopping him then (sic) he did for raping KIDS. But I could no longer do nothing.
Condoluci had a Twitter page with one rambling tweet in the name Matt’s Ministry.
A press release from the Omaha Police Department confirmed that “Homicide Detectives have made an arrest. The suspect was booked into Douglas County Corrections for Criminal Homicide. Suspect/Arrested: FAIRBANKS, James (10/25/76).”
According to the release, on Saturday, May 16, 2020 at 11:15 a.m., officers “responded to 4305 Pinkney St for a shooting call. Upon arrival officers found an adult male deceased. Homicide Detectives are investigating.” The victim’s identity was given as “CONDOLUCI, Mattieo W/M (12/14/55).”
2. Fairbanks Worked for the Local School System & Described Himself as a Dad & ‘Devout Scifi Nerd’
Fairbanks quoted C.S. Lewis on Facebook: “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” Friends expressed confusion on the May 18 post, with one writing, “At a loss for words my friend. You’re definitely in my thoughts.”
His page describes him as “Dad, devout scifi nerd, lover of spicy foods.” He wrote that he was a “Behavioral Interventionist at Omaha Public Schools,” who served as “SSC at Morton Magnet Middle School,” went to Lincoln High School, studied at Doane University, lives in Omaha and was from Oakland, California. His recent posts criticize President Trump and are laments about parenting.
“I think the hardest part of parenting for me is faking empathy in regards to video game struggles. If I have to agree that people who camp in call of duty are scum one more time today I’m going to lose it,” read one.
He also wrote about coronavirus, saying, “Me: I should use this quarantine downtime to be constructive and learn a new language or something. Also me: Holy crap scary movie 5 is on!” He posted a graphic indicating support for former presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard.
Fairbanks also discussed issues with sobriety, writing, “Thanks so much to my sponsor… for holding my hand and at times kicking my ass. Today I got two years of sobriety.” In late March, he wrote, “I will likely be quarantined for the next few weeks. Hope all my loved ones are well. I’m at my second job (not the school) so I won’t be around my house. If you need me you can call or text or message me on here. Good news is this will have nearly zero impact on my dating life so there’s that..”
According to the Omaha World-Herald, Fairbanks is a “now-suspended Omaha Public Schools employee.”
He was worked at the middle school alternative school Secondary Success Program. Before that, he worked in “behavioral intervention” at another middle school, Omaha World-Herald reported.
3. Fairbanks’ Ex Wife Filed for Protection Orders Against Him in the Past
According to the Omaha World-Herald, Fairbanks went through a bitter divorce during which his ex wife, Kelly Tamayo, sought multiple protection orders for things like threatening text messages.
They have children ages 12 and 17.
“We are all in shock to say the least,” Tamayo told the newspaper. “Jim is a protector. He has worked with vulnerable kids his entire career. He took it very personally to protect his kids and other kids from (sex) offenders like that man was.” She told the newspaper she thinks Fairbanks was “overwhelmed by the thought that this man was going to offend again.”
4. The Mother of Condoluci’s Victim Started a Facebook Page to ‘Free James Fairbanks’
Court documents in a writ of habeas corpus filed by Condoluci says that “Mattieo A. Condoluci was released on January 5, 2009, from the custody of the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services after serving his sentence for sexually assaulting a child. He was, however, immediately taken into custody by the Sarpy County sheriff and incarcerated in the Sarpy County jail, where he remained as of the time he filed the referenced application.”
There is a public group on Facebook titled, “Free James Fairbanks.” The woman who runs it is named Laura Smith. According to the Kearney Hub, Condoluci sexually assaulted her 5-year-old son. In 2017, her son died of a drug overdose.
A 1994 Orlando Sentinel article on Condoluci’s sentencing says Condoluci was a then-37-year-old night club bouncer. He was accused of touching the boy’s genitals and having the boy touch his while fully clothed.
Smith wrote on Facebook: “I do not believe James was acting as a vigilante. I believe he had seen enough of the wreckage sexual abuse causes and may have felt helpless and ‘snapped’ when he saw what he saw. He is as much a victim as my son and the other children he is not a vigilante. I don’t know him but from what I am seeing of him he is a good man and may be suffering from PTSD though I’m not a Dr. This man deserves our support. People who go out and kill just to kill do not!”
Smith has posted screenshots claiming Condoluci sought to join the Ku Klux Klan and was trying to sell children’s backpacks online.
She wrote of Condoluci: “Flush that POS remains down the toilet and save the tax payers money.” The Kearney Hub reported that Condoluci received five years in prison for the 2007 sexual assault of a child, and a 13-year-old girl also accused Condoluci of raping her the year before.
Smith addressed one Facebook post to Fairbanks, writing, “To the shooter: If you happen to find this page or me. Once you have turned yourself in. I would be willing to help in your defense by telling the courts my son’s story if needed.”
GoFundMe legal funds to help Fairbanks have been taken down.
5. Condoluci’s Children Have Spoken to the News Media Since His Death, With His Daughter Calling Him a ‘Monster’
According to KETV, Conduluci was shot near the front door of his home. The victim’s son defended him to the television station, saying Condoluci became a minister and adding, “The guy didn’t know my dad. He didn’t know anything about him all, he knew was stuff that he’s seen online.”
However, Condoluci’s daughter, Amanda Henry of Omaha, told the Kearney Hub that her dad’s killer should get only probation, saying, “Murdering my dad was a horrible thing,” she said. “But children are much safer now, any other child he could have hurt is much safer.”
Henry also wrote a comment on the Free James Fairbanks Facebook page. “Along with mine and many others. yes it hurts because that monster was my dad but right is right and wrong is wrong and he was so very wrong,” she wrote.