LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A woman accused of going on a deadly shooting spree with her husband and brother-in-law claims she was the victim of domestic violence and is seeking a trial independent of her two co-defendants, court records said.
Kayleigh Lewis, 27, faces 43 felonies, including murder and attempted murder, stemming from the shootings that spanned from Henderson to northern Arizona the day after Thanksgiving in 2020. She has pleaded not guilty to all the charges against her.
Lewis is married to Shawn McDonnell, 32, who is also accused of taking part in the spree. Shawn McDonnell’s brother, Christopher McDonnell, 30, is also charged. Christopher McDonnell told police Lewis was the driving in the spree, documents said.
In November 2020, the trio drove from Tyler, Texas, to Las Vegas in a rented car, documents said. The trio is accused of driving around Henderson and randomly shooting at people, killing 22-year-old Kevin Mendiola Jr. at a 7-Eleven on Lake Mead Parkway. They then drove into Arizona, where there were additional shootings, including one involving a police officer. All three were arrested after their car rolled over.
Shawn McDonnell was found incompetent to stand trial in July and was most recently in custody of the Department of Public and Behavioral Health, a filing said.
Lawyers are asking a judge to disjoin Lewis’ case from the two others as it is unclear when Shawn McDonnell’s case could go to trial.
Lewis’ lawyers also allege their client was the victim of domestic violence, noting a black eye seen in her booking photo.
“However, she declines to provide any further analysis how being a ‘victim of domestic violence’ is a defense to the charges in this case which involve terroristic and random violent attacks on the general population – not the alleged perpetrator of the domestic violence,” prosecutors wrote in a response. “It is unclear if either McDonnell defendant is the cause of the black eye.”
Prosecutors also said evidence shows Lewis “holding a firearm” before the Henderson shooting.
During police interviews and a grand jury hearing, several witnesses said they heard one of the suspects, believed to be Shawn McDonnell, yelling “I am God,” while firing a gun.
Christopher McDonnell was found incompetent to stand trial last year. A judge found him competent to stand trial this spring.
A trial was scheduled to begin in November but it was unclear Thursday if it would include the two competent defendants together or separate, as Lewis’ attorneys wished.