The Crown and the defence painted very different versions of what happened when a former Alberta teacher killed her common-law partner in 2014 as they delivered their closing arguments in Deborah Doonanco’s second-degree murder trial.
Earlier this month, Doonanco testified she was in an abusive relationship and that on May 25, her common-law partner Kevin Feland, 47, was coming down from crack-cocaine when she asked him to leave her home. She said he reached for a gun but she grabbed it first and shot him.
Feland’s body was later found in Doonanco’s Glendon, Alta. home. Doonanco had called 911 to report a fire at the residence.
On Monday, the defence stressed Doonanco killed Feland in self-defence against “an extremely abusive man, someone who was a heavy crack-cocaine user” and that she was a victim of battered woman syndrome. Her lawyer 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, 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 also said it believes Doonanco killed Feland to get him out of her house and life.
The jury is now deliberating.
-With files from Vinesh Pratap.