GREEN RIVER — Following deliberations on Friday, a jury found Jason Lee Fletcher guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of his wife.
Fletcher, 46, of Rock Springs stood trial in Sweetwater County Third District Court for the death of Lena Lynn Fletcher on June 29, 2020, at their home in Clearview Acres. The trial took place over five days.
Fletcher will be sentenced at a later date, and was he was remanded to custody for the interim. In Wyoming, involuntary manslaughter is a felony punishable by imprisonment for up to 20 years.
Although Jason Fletcher claimed that his wife accidentally shot herself, prosecuting attorneys said the evidence told “a different story” — that Lena Fletcher could not have done it.
It was not disputed that both Jason Fletcher and Lena Fletcher were intoxicated at the time of the shooting, and that he was the one who loaded the revolver used. Jason Fletcher was the only known eyewitness, although the couple’s daughter was in the trailer at the time.
In order to find Jason Fletcher guilty of involuntary manslaughter, the jury had to find beyond a reasonable doubt that he was the one who pulled the trigger, and that he acted recklessly when he did so.
In closing arguments, Sweetwater County Attorney Dan Erramouspe told the jury that most of the evidence was about “what didn’t happen.”
“We know that she didn’t pull the trigger, and because of that, we know that he did it,” Erramouspe said.
Although she died in the shooting, the prosecution said that Lena Fletcher testified by showing the defensive wound in her left hand. After penetrating her hand, the bullet went through her neck and shoulder.
Investigations begin with questions and suspicion, Erramouspe told the jury. When the things Jason Fletcher told law enforcement about the shooting didn’t make sense, they investigated further. The results of that investigation showed that it would not have been possible for Lena Fletcher to pull the trigger, the prosecution said.
Erramouspe said the case was also about credibility. He noted Jason Fletcher’s vague answers about what happened and along with contradictory statements.
Defense attorney Joe Hamilton told the jury that Lena Fletcher could have stumbled or tripped while holding the gun and put her hand out. The prosecution countered that Jason Fletcher never told anyone at any time that she had tripped or stumbled, and that evidence contradicted that theory.
During closing arguments, the defense also claimed that the prosecution didn’t have all the information possible. Hampton said there were tests that weren’t done and evidence that wasn’t collected that could have helped Jason Fletcher’s case.
Law enforcement involved in the case testified during the trial as well as the Sweetwater County coroner and the medical examiner who did the autopsy and other experts. Some of the evidence considered included DNA, blood spatter, bullet trajectory, firearm tests, and the location of the gun.
Once the jury considered all of the testimony and evidence, they determined that Jason Fletcher had recklessly shot his wife.