FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 1, 2019
COVINGTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that a St. Tammany Parish jury found Jason Matthew Magee, 39, of Pearl River, guilty of two counts of first degree murder for shooting his estranged wife and her boyfriend to death in 2017.
The unanimous jury verdicts concluded a weeklong trial before District Judge August Hand, who set Magee’s sentencing date for April 8. Magee faces mandatory life in prison.
Montgomery thanked his team of prosecutors, Assistant District Attorneys Blair Alford and Criminal Division Chief Collin Sims, as well as the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, for a thorough and comprehensive investigation and presentation of the evidence.
“This is a bittersweet victory because it doesn’t bring back the two young lives that were violently taken away,” Montgomery said. “But we pray that this unanimous verdict helps the victims’ family members heal.”
Magee and his former wife, Jennifer Wallace Magee, a 32-year-old nurse, had been separated for more than a year and were going through a divorce when the crime occurred on June 19, 2017. Jason Magee had spent that afternoon out with their two children, ages 6 and 8, and they were saying goodnight to their mother over the telephone in Magee’s truck when one of them asked to speak to her boyfriend. Magee grew enraged, drove the children to his parents’ home in Pearl River, and then drove a short distance away to Jennifer’s home. Magee kicked his way into the home and, as prosecutors described, executed both victims with “military precision” in one minute and 34 seconds.
The shootings left Jennifer Magee and Donald R. Gros, then a 34-year-old EKG technician, dead of multiple gunshot wounds.
“The defendant decided to take the lives of Jennifer Wallace Magee and Donald Gros for no other reason than he was mad,” Alford said in her opening statements to the jury.
The jury rejected claims by Magee’s lawyers that he was acting in self defense after Gros pointed a gun at him and a scuffle broke out. Alford and Sims presented evidence showing that the 9mm shell casings found at the crime scene matched a partially-empty box found in Jason Magee’s gun cabinet. The gun and Magee’s truck were never found. Crime scene photos also showed no signs of a struggle, including a doll house with all of its miniature pieces still in place next to where Gros fell. A game system remote lay next to his hand.
After the murders, Magee confessed to his stepfather that he had shot his ex-wife. Magee fled, but with assistance from the U.S. Marshals Task Force and the Pearl River Police Department, he was arrested after emerging from the woods.