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Johnson County, Mo., woman convicted of manslaughter for husband’s shooting death

By Kaitlyn Schwers, kschwers@kcstar.com
Updated November 16, 2018 09:30 PM

A Johnson County, Mo., woman charged with killing her estranged husband last year avoided a conviction of second-degree murder but was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter Friday.
Jema Donahue was accused of fatally shooting her husband, 31-year-old Javon Donahue, and burying his body in a farm field with the help of her mother and a family friend in April 2017.
Following a week-long trial, Donahue, 33, was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter, armed criminal action, unlawful use of a weapon, felony murder, tampering with evidence and abandonment of a corpse.
She is expected to be sentenced Jan. 14 in Johnson County, according to her defense attorney, John Picerno.

“Obviously, we’re very grateful the jury did not convict her of murder in the second degree. We were hopeful she would be found not guilty of manslaughter and not guilty of felony murder, but we’re definitely pleased she was not convicted of murder in the second degree,” Picerno said. “We’re hopeful the court will take that into consideration in the sentencing.” After she was charged, Picerno told The Star last year Donahue had filed orders of protection against her husband less than a month before his death.

Court records showed Donahue’s mother, Margaret G. Heffernan had also filed an order of protection against Javon Donahue after she said he punched her daughter, slammed her into the floor and threatened to kill Heffernan, her husband and grandchildren.

Heffernan pleaded guilty to concealing a felony and tampering with evidence in connection to Javon Donahue’s death, and received a four-year suspended prison sentence and was placed on a five-year supervised probation in March, according to online court records.

Ricky W. Armstrong, who was accused of helping dispose of the body, also pleaded guilty to concealing a felony and tampering with evidence, and received the same sentence in August.

Reporter Glenn Rice contributed to this report.
Margaret Heffernan, Jema Donahue’s mother, had filed an order of protection against Javon Donahue, stating that on March 28 Javon Donahue punched her daughter in the head and jaw, slammed her into the floor repeatedly and threatened to kill Heffernan, her husband and grandchildren. Johnson County (Mo.) Detention Center

Read more here: https://www.kansascity.com/news/local/crime/article221806625.html#storylink=cpy