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Crime News

Minnesota Woman Who Killed Alleged Abusive Boyfriend Is Sentenced To 25 Years

Stephanie Clark had been abused and controlled by her boyfriend, Don Juan Butler, before she fatally shot him, according to her lawyer.

By Chambolion Fairley
Woman Sentenced To 25 Years After Killing Boyfriend

A Minnesota woman convicted of murdering her allegedly abusive boyfriend because she’d “wanted him to stop talking,” has been sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Stephanie Clark, 31, fatally shot Don Juan Butler on March 5, 2020 at their Maple Grove apartment, according to court documents. Police responding to reports of shots fired that day found Clark and her 5-year-old son crouched on the ground outside the building. Authorities found Butler inside the apartment; he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Clark told investigators that Butler had assaulted her after he confronted her about talking to another man. The couple continued to argue after Clark returned from picking up her son, until Clark shot Butler in the chest, grabbing a second revolver after the first had run out of bullets. 

Clark told authorities that she “ ‘wanted him to stop talking,’ so she shot him in the head," according to a statement of probable cause in the case obtained by Oxygen.com.

The couple had met on a dating app, but Butler, who was a convicted felon, allegedly became abusive and controlling after he moved into her apartment, according to a memo submitted to the Hennepin County District Court by Clark’s defense attorney.

“Mr. Butler had a lot of ‘rules’ for Ms. Clark and these rules shifted with his moods and the goal posts moved as it suited him. … Mr. Butler began physically abusing and terrorizing Clark whenever she broke the ‘rules.’” 

Jurors ultimately rejected the argument that Butler’s alleged abuse precipitated the shooting, convicting Clark of second-degree murder on Oct. 14, 2020. She faced a maximum of 30 years in prison before being sentenced to 25, despite multiple letters being submitted on her behalf asking the judge in the case to show leniency.

Clark will receive credit for 124 days served, according to Fox News.