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Was the fatal I-80 shooting self-protection or 'the perfect murder'?

Was the fatal I-80 shooting self-protection or 'the perfect murder'?

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The handgun that authorities say Kathleen Jourdan used to fire two fatal shots into her husband’s chest wasn’t the only one in the couple’s pickup truck.

Nebraska State Patrol investigators found four firearms, including an AR-15 rifle. They also found six boxes of ammunition and six magazines with a total of 323 rounds, plus nine spent shell casings scattered among the floorboards and door pockets.

In addition, investigators found roughly $3,100 in cash — about $2,700 in the back seat and $441 in a wallet that contained Kathleen Jourdan’s ID.

Authorities also are investigating three statements Jourdan made after she was taken into custody: that she was forced to write prescriptions for her husband; that he has physically, sexually and verbally assaulted her; and that she spoke with a friend about how to get away with the “perfect murder.”

Jourdan, 31, has been charged with second-degree murder and weapon use in Dawson County in connection with the slaying of her husband, 35-year-old Josh Jourdan. He was found dead June 17 in the driver’s seat of the pickup parked along eastbound Interstate 80 near Cozad. The couple’s two boys, ages 7 and 5, were in the back seat during the argument and ensuing shooting, officials have said.

Kathleen Jourdan’s preliminary hearing in Lexington and her husband’s funeral, in his hometown of Wenatchee, Washington, both are scheduled for Thursday.

Kathleen Jourdan called 911 about 3:15 p.m. June 17, after the shooting. She told authorities that the family was in the process of moving from their Omaha home near 81st and Lake Streets to Scottsbluff so she could continue her medical residency.

Jourdan was a resident physician in the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Family Medicine Residency Program. UNMC officials have placed her on administrative leave pending internal and criminal investigations. She had been issued a temporary educational permit to practice medicine in July 2019, state records say.

Josh Jourdan was the family’s stay-at-home parent, according to his Facebook page and court documents filed by his parents, Greg and Lisa Jourdan. Josh Jourdan also worked as a firefighter in Chelan County, Washington, was a certified airframe and power plant mechanic and a private pilot. He held a commercial driver’s license.

“(Josh) always sought to give a helping hand to those in need,” according to his obituary on the website of the Washington funeral home handling his services. “Joshua’s hobbies included boating, motorcycles, Ham radio, RC airplanes and spending time with family.”

Since the couple’s oldest boy was born in 2012, the family mostly lived with Josh’s parents or in an RV on his parents’ property, according to court documents. When Kathleen moved for medical school or work, Josh and the boys sometimes followed, but they mostly stayed in Washington during the summer and early fall months so Josh could work as a firefighter, his parents said in a court filing.

The family lived for a time in Grenada, where Kathleen graduated in June 2018 from St. George’s University School of Medicine. Her parents attended the graduation, posting photos on Facebook with the caption, “Doctor Kathleen Jourdan and her family!” Her mother, Ruth Karakas, who also lives in Washington, declined to comment for this article.

Kathleen moved to Omaha in June 2019 for her residency, but Josh and the boys didn’t follow until February of this year, according to court documents. The family has no Nebraska ties, and most of their extended family lives in Washington.

While in Omaha, the boys were “homeschooled, did not attend daycare and did not participate in any extracurricular activities,” the attorney for Josh Jourdan’s parents wrote. Also, according to his parents, Josh planned to return with the boys to Washington.

“At the time of his death, (Josh Jourdan) was preparing to return with the children to (his parents’ home) to continue his employment,” the document states.

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A woman who answered a phone number associated with Greg and Lisa Jourdan declined to comment.

According to what Kathleen Jourdan told authorities after the shooting:

Josh Jourdan was driving on I-80 when the couple got into an argument. He called a friend from Georgia to serve as a mediator, and both spoke with the friend as Josh drove.

Josh then pulled over to the side of the road, gave Kathleen a “look” and raised his arm at her “like he was going to strike her,” according to an affidavit.

Kathleen, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, grabbed a handgun from the center console, removed it from its holster, pointed it at Josh and fired twice, the affidavit states.

As Kathleen held the gun, Josh told the friend, who apparently was still on the phone, “She has a gun. She has a gun.”

“Kathleen stated she does not know if her response to Joshua was justified, but ... she did not know what else to do,” the affidavit reads. “Kathleen advised she felt she was protecting herself and her two sons who were located in the back seat of the vehicle.”

Authorities noted they have tried to contact the friend who was on the phone, but it’s unclear whether they have spoken to him. The friend did not return a message from a reporter.

In addition to the guns, ammo, magazines and cash authorities found in the pickup truck, they also found several electronic devices and prescription bottles.

Kathleen Jourdan told investigators that when she was a resident physician at UNMC, Josh “had forced her to write prescriptions of non-narcotic controlled substances,” according to a court document. Another document said Kathleen told authorities about “a history of being forced by Joshua Jourdan to provide prescriptions for controlled medications with no diagnosis by any medical professional.”

In the back seat of the pickup, investigators found 11 prescription bottles with Joshua Jourdan’s name on them in a black bag described by a Nebraska state trooper as “Joshua’s bag,” along with a computer, camera and iPhone. The type of drug wasn’t specified.

“These bottles indicated Joshua Jourdan as the patient and Kathleen Jourdan as the physician who wrote the prescription,” according to a search warrant affidavit.

Investigators also found a prescription for dextroamphetamine — Dexedrine is the brand name — for Kathleen in the front seat. The drug is a stimulant used to treat ADHD.

Kathleen also told authorities of domestic violence involving Josh, “to include but not limited to sexual assault, verbal and physical abuse.” Investigators are searching for any references to domestic abuse in the couple’s phones, which were in the pickup, along with a third cellphone, a tablet and a computer.

The pickup had a dash camera, and Josh’s father told authorities he thinks the camera was set up to record and store audio and video on a memory card. Investigators did not find a memory or storage card inside the device but found a micro SD card, which is the same size as a card that would fit into the device, on the floor of the pickup.

Kathleen Jourdan allowed investigators to look through her phone. She told authorities that they might find a “concerning conversation” she had with a friend on Facebook Messenger.

“Kathleen Jourdan detailed that this conversation included her and (the friend) discussing how to get away with the perfect murder,” according to an affidavit. It’s unclear when that conversation occurred.

Investigators have requested Kathleen Jourdan’s Facebook account information and messages since January 2016.

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Alia Conley covers breaking news, crime, crime trends, the Omaha Police Department and initial court hearings. Follow her on Twitter @aliaconleyOWH. Phone: 402-444-1068.

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