Jennifer Doane

Jennifer Doane

A San Miguel County jury last week convicted a woman of second-degree murder in the death of 42-year-old Nickolas J. Wells.

Jurors deliberated for about an hour and a half on April 20 before finding 52-year-old Jennifer L. Doane guilty of shooting and killing Wells following a night of drinking. Doane faces up to 16 years in prison.

Doane was arrested on Oct. 17, 2019, after Las Vegas police responded to a home in the 2400 block of Jessie Lee Lane after Doane called 911 to say she’d shot her boyfriend.

Doane told police she and Wells had been drinking vodka and that she’d been upset because earlier, Wells had punched her in the stomach, according to an affidavit filed in Magistrate Court in October 2019. She told police Wells retrieved a revolver from a bedroom, returned to the couch and pointed the gun at his head.

Doane said Wells commanded her to pull the trigger, shouting, “Pull the trigger, B----. Do it! Do it!” according to the affidavit. Doane then reached over and pulled the trigger.

During a search of the home, police located a .22-caliber pistol and a “large amount” of empty vodka bottles.

The Office of the Medical Investigator determined that the gunshot wound was a contact wound, commonly referred to as a point-blank shot, according to the Fourth Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

Doane took the stand at trial, telling the jury that she was trying to take the gun away from Wells and that she’d shot him accidentally.

Las Vegas Police Department investigators testified that Ms. Doane gave multiple interviews within hours of the shooting and stated multiple times she wanted “to hurt him,” and that she wanted to “teach him a lesson,” according to the DA’s office.

District Attorney Tom Clayton said the trial had been delayed for two and a half years due to the pandemic and thanked Wells’ family for their patience.

“We thank the jury for their service and we appreciate the patience of the family during this time,” Clayton said. “We are thankful that the family of Mr. Wells can now proceed with the next step in the healing process.”

Clayton said his office had offered a plea agreement in the case, but the offer was rejected.

Although Doane was charged with one count of second-degree murder, Clayton said the jury was allowed to consider lesser charges of either voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter. However, following a three-day trial, the jury convicted Doane of second-degree murder.

Sentencing will take place at a later date following a routine diagnostic evaluation by the New Mexico Corrections Department.

Under New Mexico law, Doane faces a maximum sentence of 15 years for second-degree murder, plus an additional year for using a firearm.

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