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Doctor Found Not Guilty Of Killing Husband After Claiming Self-Defense

Kathleen Jourdan said she feared for her life when her husband pulled over on the side of the road and raised a hand to her, prompting her to shoot him twice in the chest in front of their sons.

By Jax Miller

A jury found that a Nebraska woman who killed her husband in front of their two children acted in self-defense.

Kathleen Jourdan, 31, was found not guilty on Friday of charges related to the June 2020 death of her husband, Joshua Jourdan, 35, according to ABC affiliate KETV News. During the trial, which began on March 3, the Dawson County jury heard enough evidence to determine the defendant was in fear for her life when she shot her husband on Interstate 80 near Cozad, Nebraska.

The family of four had been driving back and forth to Scottsbluff n June 17, 2020 in order to relocate for Kathleen’s new position with the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Family Residency Medical Program, according to the Lincoln Journal Star. As Joshua Jourdan drove the pickup truck, the pair began arguing, and he reportedly called a mutual friend named Calvin and brought him into the couple’s argument. Kathleen Jourdan stated that her husband complained of “how bad she was,” the courts heard.

When she attempted to say something in her own defense, Joshua Jourdan allegedly slammed on the brakes and raised his hand to intimidate his wife. She then took a handgun from the center console and shot him twice in the chest.

At the time, the couple’s two sons were in the back seat but were not harmed. According to NBC affiliate KNOP News, the children were aged 4 and 7.

Following her arrest, Kathleen Jourdan told authorities that her husband had her “provide prescriptions for controlled medication with no diagnosis by a medical professional,” according to KETV.

On the stand, Kathleen Jourdan detailed a number of events highlighting the abusive nature of their nine-year marriage, including specific violent episodes from when the family lived in Grenada. Kathleen Jourdan said that on Aug. 29, 2015, Joshua claimed she “deserved to be punished” during an argument over a few alcoholic beverages, according to the Journal Star. Kathleen Jourdan accused Joshua Jourdan of making her undress and go into the bathroom, where he allegedly urinated on her head, covered her in baby powder, and instructed her to wash her hair in the toilet.

After obeying his commands, Kathleen Jourdan claimed she exited the bathroom, at which point he tackled her to the ground and began strangling her in front of their two sons. A medical report showed that Kathleen Jourdan was examined at a clinic following the event and sustained scratches and bruises to her neck and chest, according to the Journal Star.

Kathleen Jourdan also claimed that her husband blamed her for the 2019 death of their infant daughter, Amelia, who died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Things got even worse when Kathleen Jourdan was accepted into the medical residency: her husband threatened to take the kids to his home state of Washington if she didn’t agree to several contracts he’d drawn up and emailed, reported the Lincoln outlet. In one, Joshua Jourdan demanded 30 percent of her income while she was in school and 50 percent of her income when she left. Another contract outlined the Kathleen Jourdan was required to have unlimited sexual intercourse whenever her husband pleased.

Kathleen Jourdan complied because he wanted to maintain contact with her sons, she said.

As the family traveled back and forth between Omaha and Scottsbluff for the residency, Kathleen said she recognized the look in her husband’s eye when they drove on Interstate 80.

“As he was pulling over, he turned at me, gave me that look that I had seen in Grenada, raised his arm, came at me, and that’s when I grabbed the gun and pulled it twice,” Kathleen Jourdan said in court, according to KETV.

She applied pressure to her husband’s wounds while calling 911, according to the Journal Star. She was arrested on the scene.

A jury consisting of 10 women and two men came to their decision in just four and a half hours on Friday morning, according to the Lincoln Journal Star. Kathleen Jourdan was found not guilty on charges of second-degree murder and use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony.

"Kathleen and I are very pleased with the jury's verdict," her attorney Brian Copley told Oxygen.com. "Kathleen suffered years and years of abuse and she did what was necessary to protect herself on June 17, 2020. We are glad the jury agreed and we appreciate their time and effort in reaching a just verdict.  Kathleen looks forward to moving forward in her life with her two children and further pursuing the medical career she started before that fateful day."