Crime, Fire + Courts

Suspect pleads to manslaughter in Davis woman’s 2010 strangling death

By From page A2 | January 24, 2013

WOODLAND — After numerous trial delays, a woman accused of killing a Davis resident inside a Woodland motel room three years ago entered into a plea agreement Wednesday that is expected to result in a 12-year prison term.

Susan Marie Sheppard, 34, admitted to a felony charge of voluntary manslaughter with an enhancement for use of a deadly weapon, as well as a count of assault with a deadly weapon, Yolo County Chief Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Raven said. Her sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 31 before Yolo Superior Court Judge Stephen Mock.

Sheppard had been scheduled to stand trial on murder charges this month for the Jan. 12, 2010, death of Davis resident Aretha Goldine McDonald, 46, who was found fatally strangled in Sheppard’s room at the Dunton Motel on West Street.

According to court transcripts, McDonald’s death came to light when Sheppard disclosed to her then-boyfriend that there was a dead body inside her motel room. He reportedly stayed in the room overnight — urging a reluctant Sheppard to call police — before walking into the Woodland Police Department to report the death himself.

He later pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor accessory charge and was placed on probation.

Sheppard’s attorney, Bob Spangler, declined to comment on the plea deal until after the sentencing hearing.

— Reach Lauren Keene at [email protected] or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene

Lauren Keene

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