A Glendon-area woman has been found guilty of second-degree murder in the 2014 death of her partner.
The jury in Deborah Doonanco’s trial also found the former elementary school teacher guilty of arson and interfering with human remains in Kevin Feland’s death.
The jury in the 53-year-old’s case started deliberating at 9 a.m. Tuesday and came back with a verdict by 11:30 a.m. Reaction in the courtroom was muted, as supporters for both Doonanco and Feland were present.
The closing arguments Monday presented two very different versions of what happened in the small community of Glendon, Alta. in May 2014. Feland’s body was found in Doonanco’s Glendon home on Sunday, May 25. Doonanco called 911 to report a fire at the residence.
The defence presented a case of self defence against “an extremely abusive man, someone who was a heavy crack-cocaine user.” Doonanco’s lawyer, Brian Beresh, said she was a victim of battered woman syndrome.
Beresh said Feland was so out of control, the incident could have easily become a murder-suicide if his client had not taken action. Doonanco’s defence also argued she was in a dissociative state at the time because of battered woman syndrome.
The Crown was critical of the battered woman syndrome expert called to testify by the defence, saying their analysis was based on the self-reporting of the accused and no one else. The Crown also said some of Doonanco’s testimony was inconsistent with what she told a number of witnesses shortly after the killing occurred.
The Crown also argued Doonanco was not as vulnerable a woman as the defence portrayed her to be, arguing she was not fearful of her life and was in control of a number of things in her and Feland’s relationship, including their finances.
The Crown said it believed Doonanco killed Feland to get him out of her house and life.
A second-degree murder conviction means an automatic life sentence. At question now is the period of time Doonanco will have to wait to apply for parole. That could be anywhere between 10 and 25 years, which will be determined by the judge.
Glendon is a northern Alberta village located about 200 kilometres northeast of Edmonton. (bw/with files from Global News)