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Appeal ruling issued for Alberta woman convicted of murdering husband in 2014

Deborah Doonanco appears in court in St. Paul, Alta. Oct. 18, 2016.
Deborah Doonanco appears in court in St. Paul, Alta. Oct. 18, 2016. Vinesh Pratap, Global News

Update: On April 23, 2019, Doonanco was granted interim release pending her appeal to the Supreme Court.

A panel of Alberta judges issued a ruling Wednesday on the murder conviction appeal of a former teacher who killed her common-law husband in a small northeastern Alberta town five years ago.

In 2016, Deborah Doonanco was found guilty by a jury of second-degree murder in the death of Kevin Feland in the town of Glendon, in the St. Paul-Bonnyville area. The former elementary school teacher was also found guilty of arson and interfering with human remains.

In February 2017, Doonanco was released on $20,000 bail after filing an appeal of her murder conviction.

READ MORE: Former Alberta teacher found guilty of second-degree murder in husband’s death

Wednesday’s Alberta Court of Appeal decision was not unanimous. Two of the three judges on the panel dismissed her appeal, but the one dissenting ruling gives Doonanco an automatic leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.

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As result of the ruling, Doonanco must now turn herself in.

Kevin Feland pictured about 18 years ago with daughter Chloe Truss.
Kevin Feland pictured about 18 years ago with daughter Chloe Truss. Courtesy: Chloe Truss/ Kevin Feland's Daughter

Doonanco, who is in her mid-50s, admitted she shot Feland twice and set the home on fire in May 2014. The defence had argued she acted in self defence and that she suffered from battered woman syndrome.

The Crown 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.

READ MORE: ‘I shot him and I ran’: former Alberta teacher cross-examined during murder trial

The Crown also said some of Doonanco’s testimony was inconsistent with what she told a number of witnesses shortly after the killing occurred.

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The Crown said it believed Doonanco killed Feland to get him out of her house and life.

A second-degree murder conviction comes with an automatic life sentence, and Doonanco was not eligible for parole for 13 years.

READ MORE: Alberta woman found guilty in husband’s death ineligible for parole for 13 years

Glendon is a northern Alberta village located about 200 kilometres northeast of Edmonton.

Deborah Doonanco appears in court in St. Paul, Alta. Oct. 18, 2016.
Deborah Doonanco appears in court in St. Paul, Alta. Oct. 18, 2016. Vinesh Pratap, Global News

— With files from Caley Ramsay, Global News