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75-year-old woman pleads guilty to killing husband

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VERNAL — A Vernal woman accused of gunning down her estranged husband over seven years ago pleaded guilty to a reduced charge in the case Thursday.

Evelyn Christine Johnson, 75, entered a guilty plea to an amended charge of manslaughter, a second-degree felony, before 8th District Judge A. Lynn Payne in the death of Alan Lavoy Johnson, 71. The woman was originally charged with murder, a first-degree felony.

Prosecutors allege that Evelyn Johnson went to Alan Johnson's camp trailer on Aug. 24, 2004, the day after he had her served with divorce papers, and shot him five times with a .22-caliber revolver as they drank coffee. It would have been the couple's second divorce.

In the week before the shooting, Evelyn Johnson filed for a protective order against her husband, claiming verbal and mental abuse. Her daughter also claimed that Alan Johnson had abused her mother throughout their 20 years of marriage, although there were no reports of domestic violence to police.

Johnson's competency to stand trial was questioned soon after her arrest. She was initially deemed competent, but was later committed to the Utah State Hospital for treatment and was determined competent to proceed to trial in May.

Sentencing has been scheduled for Feb. 9.

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Emiley Morgan


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