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A Minnesota man who joked about divorce proceedings moments after gunning down his wife in 2019 was sentenced to 40 years in prison last week.
Matthew Lynn Jansen, 48, shot and killed his wife, Mary Jo Jansen, the night before she planned to move out of the couple’s home in Blaine, Minnesota, prosecutors said. He pleaded guilty in March to his spouse’s second-degree murder.
An Anoka County district court judge handed Jansen the 40-year sentence on Dec. 10, court records show.
“It is particularly cruel for children to lose their mother, and a family to lose their loved one, at the hands of someone who is supposed to emotionally support a family, not violently tear it apart,” Anoka County Attorney Tony Palumbo said in a statement sent to Oxygen.com.
Hours before her death, Mary Jo Jansen had attended her own mother’s funeral, prosecutors said.
“The emotional impact was made worse here because the victim had attended her mother’s funeral just that morning,” Palumbo added.
On Feb. 8, 2019, emergency dispatchers received a call from Matthew Jansen, who claimed he had killed his wife. Police found her bleeding profusely on the floor of an upstairs bedroom in the home, having been shot in the neck and chest. Blood spatter was found throughout the house.
A recently purchased .44 caliber Smith & Wesson and two spent casings were also found by law enforcement.
Jansen was arrested at the scene. As investigators secured the area, he made light of the situation, according to authorities.
“I guess I don’t have to worry about a divorce now,” he said, according to the criminal complaint.
Mary Jo Jansen had previously filed for divorce and intended to permanently move out of the couple’s home the next day, relatives told investigators. In the weeks and months leading up to her death, her husband repeatedly warned — and threatened her — not to leave.
“Investigators further learned that defendant previously made statements to Ms. Jansen to the effect of ‘you are not leaving this house’ and ‘I will not let you leave,’” the complaint alleged.
Matthew Jansen was served divorce paperwork around Thanksgiving 2018, although the couple still lived together, according to prosecutors.
Mary Jo Jansen’s obituary describes her as “one of the strongest women this world has seen.” The 46-year-old was a mother of two and a “proud member” of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. She loved campfires, cracking jokes, and spending time up north.
“Mary was gorgeous inside and out,” her obituary states.
Michelle Margoles, Matthew Jansen's defense attorney, told Oxygen.com that she believes her client's sentence was unusually stiff.
"I believe the judge's sentence, in this case, was excessive and should be appealed," Margoles said. "The facts in this case did not warrant the maximum sentence under Minnesota statutes, which is what the court imposed."
Jansen is being held at an Anoka County detention center ahead of serving his sentence, according to online jail records. He’ll serve 25 years behind bars and will spend the remainder of his sentence on supervised release, prosecutors said.
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