Palmer, AK – Lisa Donlon, a mother of three, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter, and criminally negligent homicide after she took a .45-caliber handgun and emptied several rounds into her husband, Jason Donlon, as he slept. The couple had been married since 1995.
The event occurred the evening of October 7, 2010. Jason was fatally shot five times in the back and head, according to KTUU. Other reports state Jason was shot once in the head and five times in the back. Lisa called 911 after to report the shooting.
According to Lisa and her defense, Jason held Lisa against her will, by threat of death to her and her children, in a 12-by-20 cabin in Butte (about 40 miles from Anchorage) where she was violently tortured and raped for three days.
They argued the shooting had been in self-defense because of the prolonged and documented domestic violence Lisa endured, abuse witnessed by their children.
During her testimony, Lisa detailed an occasion when Jason reacted in a jealous rage and threaten to cut her throat. Documents pertaining to a previous restraining order petition outlined Lisa’s claims of other types of abuse.
After telling him she wanted a divorce Jason responded with two loaded guns and a crazed irrational rant. Lisa had been thrown out of the home naked after Jason pointed a firearm at her. One of their sons witnessed the incident.
Lisa also described how Jason would choke her unconscious.
Two days after Lisa obtained a restraining order, Jason filed for divorce and sought custody of the children. They reconciled.
The prosecution contended the immediate circumstances surrounding the shooting were non-confrontational, arguing the medical records reflected little evidence beyond superficial scrapes and bruises. They went as far as to demonstrate how Lisa would have appeared standing over her sleeping husband as she opened fire.
A nurse who attended to and examined Lisa the day she shot her husband, Jennifer Meyer, testified that the injuries Lisa had sustained were indicative with the type of assault she claimed to experience. Meyer further attested to observing pattern injuries that were consistent with being beaten with a belt, finding belt-shaped bruises on Lisa’s body. “Pattern injuries are injuries that mimic or mirror the shape of an object that would have been used to make those injuries,” Meyer explained.
The four-week trial ended on Tuesday. A Palmer jury returned after several days of deliberations and acquitted Lisa on all charges. She was found not guilty and will not serve time for shooting her husband to death. Lisa faced the potential of a 99-year sentence had she been found guilty of second-degree murder, manslaughter, and criminally negligent homicide. Lisa will be released from jail after spending two years away from her three sons.
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