A Scranton man was convicted Friday of involuntary but reckless second-degree murder in the April 2021 death near Topeka of his longtime ex-girlfriend, Deborah Ann Stephens, Shawnee County District Court records show.
Jurors also convicted Jon K. “Kelly” Ewing, 63, on one count each of aggravated kidnapping, aggravated burglary, felony making and interference with a law enforcement officer, the documents said.
Sentencing was set for 9:30 on May 12.
The charges involved were related to the death of Stephens, 58, on April 27, 2021, in his mobile home at 801 SW 57th, Lot A7, just south of Topeka.
Ewing faced first-degree murder charges entering his trial, which began Monday, but jurors decided to convict him on the lesser charge of second-degree murder.
Here’s what the prosecution said
Assistant District Attorney Will Manly said a camera on Stephens’ home security system showed Ewing attacking her outside her mobile home, grabbing her by the hair and dragging her towards her mobile home.
Ewing was then shown picking up an ax that Stephens kept just inside his front door and using it to strike her repeatedly on the head before thrusting her inside, Manly said.
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Here’s what the defense attorney said
Defense attorney Kevin Shepherd countered by presenting testimony indicating that all of Stephens’ head injuries were found to be superficial.
Stephens died of heavy bleeding in her torso after suffering a minor rib fracture, while a high blood methamphetamine level and a long history of methamphetamine abuse were key contributing factors, Shepherd said.
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He also said Ewing’s history of motorcycle accidents and head injuries, as well as his methamphetamine abuse, left him without the mental capacity to plan a murder.
Contact Tim Hrenchir at [email protected] or 785-213-5934.