PALMER, Alaska -- A jury acquitted an Alaska woman who shot her husband six times as he slept, killing him, after she said the man held her against her will and tortured her for three days.
A Palmer jury on Tuesday found Lisa Donlon not guilty on all counts after several days of deliberations following a four-week trial, according to KTUU-TV (http://is.gd/PomdRg). Donlon was charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.
She shot her husband, Jason Donlon, once in the head and five times in the back with a .45-caliber handgun while he slept Oct. 7, 2010. The mother of three called 911 to report the shooting.
The defense argued Jason Donlon had been raping and torturing his wife for three days. They say he was keeping her against her will in a cabin or storage shed in Butte, about 40 miles northeast of Anchorage.
Prosecutors argued the killing was non-confrontational, and they said that while medical records showed evidence of scrapes and bruises there was nothing to indicate Lisa Donlon had been tortured.
A grand jury initially declined to indict Donlon but reconsidered after prosecutors presented new evidence.
Her lawyer argued that she was a victim of domestic violence and the shooting was justified.
The Donlons married in South Carolina in 1995, and court papers show trouble in their marriage when they were living in Eagle River in 2006. That year she obtained a restraining order against her husband and doctors documented her injuries.
In a petition for the restraining order, she said he became enraged when she announced she wanted a divorce.
"He packed his things, told the kids `bye,'" she wrote. "Twenty minutes later he came back with his two loaded guns. He was trying to force me to call the police because he wanted to be shot by police officers so it wouldn't look like a suicide."
She wrote that her husband had pointed a gun to her chest before, had thrown her out of the house with no clothes on – an event she said was witnessed by one of their sons. She also stated that her husband had choked her unconscious.
She said she didn't call police because she was scared.
"I have a feeling that he would use his guns easily, and I don't want to create any situation that would trigger that," she wrote.
Two days after she obtained the restraining order, Jason Donlon, who was a computer technician for the Alaska Army National Guard, filed for divorce, seeking custody of the children.
The couple soon reconciled and were living in a small building behind the home of his mother and stepfather.
Defense Attorney Zachary Renfro said that while Donlon was in jail she had weekly visits from her three sons. He said the next step is to work on a plan to reunite her with her children.
Information from: KTUU-TV, http://www.ktuu.com
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