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Mom Found Not Guilty After Shooting Husband Dead On Freeway While Kids Were In Backseat

Photo: YouTube | NTV News | Nebraska State Patrol
Kathleen Jourdan

An Omaha woman was found not guilty of second-degree murder in the 2020 shooting death of her husband.

Nebraska State Patrol investigators had arrested Kathleen Jourdan, 33, in June 2020 after she had allegedly shot and killed her husband, Joshua Jourdan, 35, on Interstate 80 near Cozad. Their two children were also in the backseat at the time of the incident.

Jourdan, who had been part of the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Family Medicine Residency Program, was subsequently charged with second-degree murder and use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony.

Kathleen Jourdan's trial resulted in a not guilty verdict after jurors heard about Joshua Jourdan's abuse.

Jourdan had claimed self-defense in the case, saying that she had suffered years of emotional and physical abuse from her husband.

Authorities said that Jourdan and her husband of nine years had gotten into an argument while driving back from Scottsbluff, where the family was in the process of moving.

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During the argument, Joshua pulled over along Interstate 80 near Cozad and called a friend in Georgia to mediate.

Kathleen said Joshua gave her a “look” during the call while raising his arm. Kathleen told police she feared for herself and her children when she pulled a handgun from the center console and fired two shots into her husband’s chest. 

While testifying in court, Jourdan was tearful as she sat on the stand, saying that she was sorry the relationship had reached that point.

Kathleen Jourdan described years of torturous domestic abuse.

Jourdan then described an incident that had happened in August 2015, where her husband had once forced her to drink alcohol by pushing her to the floor and pouring a drink in her mouth, how she had scratches on her neck and bruises on her chest, forearm and legs after he knocked her to the floor after ordering her to undress, and urinated on her head and dumped baby powder on her as a form of punishment.

A physician had also taken the stand, detailing a time when Joshua had pinned Kathleen down and choked her in a bathroom.

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Kathleen had testified that the moment when her husband had looked at her while they were in the car was the same way he had looked at her when he'd strangled her in 2015.

“No decision, I reacted,” she said. “I didn’t have time; I just thought to protect myself.”

Kathleen retrieved a gun from the center console and shot her husband —  who seconds earlier told his friend on the phone, “She’s got the gun.”

“I thought he would kill me. I knew something was going to happen,” Kathleen continued.

During the trial, jury members also saw emails Joshua had sent to Kathleen after she had accepted her residency program in Omaha.

The messages had shown Joshua threatening to keep their sons in Washington, his home state, unless Kathleen relinquished 30% of her income while she was in school and 50% afterward.

In the emails, Joshua had also demanded to have sex with Kathleen whenever he wanted. She testified that she agreed to the arrangement because she wanted to see their kids.

The case came to a close after the jury found Kathleen not guilty of use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony and second-degree murder. 

If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic abuse or violence, there are resources to get help.

There are ways to go about asking for help as safely as possible. For more information, resources, legal advice, and relevant links visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline. For anyone struggling with domestic abuse, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). If you’re unable to speak safely, text LOVEIS to 1-866-331-9474 or log onto thehotline.org.

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Follow her on Instagram.