TOPPENISH WOMAN SENTENCED TO OVER 29 YEARS IMPRISONMENT FOR SECOND DEGREE MURDER AND DISCHARGING A FIREARM DURING A CRIME OF VIOLENCE
Spokane– Joseph H. Harrington, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Jennifer Joyce Douglas, age 37, of Toppenish, Washington, was sentenced after having pleaded guilty on February 16, 2018, to second degree murder and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence. United States District Judge Salvador Mendoza, Jr. sentenced Douglas to a 235-month term of imprisonment for second degree murder and a consecutive 120-month term of imprisonment for discharging a firearm during a crime of violence, to be followed by a five year term of court supervision following release from federal prison. Judge Mendoza also ordered Douglas to pay the surviving victim and deceased victim’s family $282,007.00 in restitution.
According to information disclosed during court proceedings, Yakama Nation police officers and deputies with the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office responded to a residence in Wapato, Washington, after receiving a 911 call. In one bedroom, officers saw an unconscious victim with multiple gunshot wounds on the floor. This person showed signs of life, and was transported to the hospital. In another bedroom, officers found a deceased victim shot in the face. It appeared to be an execution-style killing because of the medical examiner’s findings that the firearm had been discharged within close proximity of the victim. As officers investigated the crime scene, they also determined someone had discharged a firearm at the water heater, causing flooding in the residence.
A short time later, a police officer initiated a traffic stop on a vehicle driven by Douglas, but registered to one of the victims. Douglas told the officer she borrowed the vehicle the previous day. She appeared to be under the influence of drugs. Douglas was arrested and booked into the Yakima County Jail. The next day, when interviewed by FBI agents, Douglas admitted shooting both victims. Douglas stated it was a blur, and “I don’t know why I did it.” The motive for the shootings is unclear.
United States Attorney Harrington said, “This case is an example of the superb work that can be accomplished when federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement work together. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Yakama Nation Tribal Police Department, Yakima County Sheriff’s Office, and Wapato Police Department are committed to investigating and prosecuting violent crimes occurring in the exterior boundaries of the Yakama Nation.”
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Yakama Nation Tribal Police Department, Yakima County Sheriff’s Office, and Wapato Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Meghan McCalla and Thomas Hanlon, Assistant United States Attorneys for the Eastern District of Washington.