May 24—A Perry woman accused of killing her ex-boyfriend pleaded guilty to manslaughter this week, hours before she was scheduled to go to trial on a murder charge.
Danielle Wheeler, 42, will serve 25 years in state prison for the 2021 death of Jason ‘Cowboy’ Aubuchon, 50, of Easton.
She was charged with murder in December 2021 after calling 911 the day after Christmas saying she had shot her ex-boyfriend at her home in Perry.
Wheeler had pleaded not guilty to the murder charge during a virtual court appearance in March 2022 but entered a guilty plea to the lesser charge Monday at Washington County Superior Court, just before she was scheduled to begin a jury trial.
Maine State Police said Wheeler admitted to shooting Aubuchon during the 911 call with the Washington County Regional Communications Center.
“I just shot my ex-boyfriend,” Wheeler said according to an affidavit for her arrest.
She described Aubuchon’s head injuries, including a shot to the temple.
“I’m going to jail. I’m going to jail; I’ve got to call my family,” she told the dispatcher.
Wheeler told police that evening that she and Aubuchon had been arguing about drugs and pointed them to two bags “containing white clumps” — both of which she said were his, according to the affidavit.
She told a sheriff’s deputy, “that is the gun,” pointing to a firearm on the television stand beside Aubuchon’s body. She showed a detective texts between her and Aubuchon from earlier in the day, which the affidavit states “went from normal to being argumentative and demeaning.” Aubuchon was calling her names and “saying he can’t go on with her.”
Police also said they found blood stain patterns on Wheeler’s clothing and in her living room, as well as two magazine bands inside a Smith and Wesson purse holster on a chair in Wheeler’s kitchen. One band was empty, and the other had an empty magazine in it.
Statements from Aubuchon’s friends and police records suggested Wheeler had previously assaulted and threatened to harm Aubuchon in the past, the affidavit states.
In 2020, they said Wheeler stabbed Aubuchon in the chest with a fork outside the Happy Crab restaurant in Eastport and then tried to run Aubuchon over with her car. In February 2020, Portland Police responded to a domestic assault call at the Motel 6 on Riverside Street, where Aubuchon “had fresh blood all over his face and a golf ball sized welt above his right eye.”
Aubuchon was intoxicated, according to police records from the incident. He told police at the time that Wheeler had stabbed and shot him in the past. The district attorney’s office told state police they didn’t file a complaint because Aubuchon had told them he had slipped and fallen on some ice.