An 85-year-old Federal Way woman harbored a seething resentment toward two sisters who were renting-to-own the house she had lost to foreclosure, even though the sisters had allowed her to continue living there so she wouldn’t become homeless, according to King County prosecutors.
Beverly Lorraine Jenne was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder and first-degree assault, accused of fatally shooting Janet Oyuga, 37, and then shooting Oyuga’s 44-year-old sister in the back.
Jenne — who apparently attempted suicide, based on evidence at the scene and a handwritten note police found in her car — was taken to St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way after the Dec. 19 shootings, charges say. She was booked into King County Jail Tuesday night, with bail set at $1 million.
The charges say Jenne has lived in the house in the 2000 block of Southwest 306th Lane since it was built in 1979. King County property records show Jenne received the three-bedroom house on just under a half-acre as part of a divorce settlement in 1993, but the house went into foreclosure in March. It was sold at public auction last month to an investment group headed by a Sammamish man.
The buyer had a lease-to-buy agreement with the two sisters, who together agreed to allow Jenne to continue living in the house until she could find a new living situation, the charges say.
Jenne “clearly harbored significant animosity towards Ms. Oyuga that culminated in shooting her multiple times (including in the back) and killing her,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Terence Carlstrom wrote in charging papers.
She followed up the killing by shooting Oyuga’s unsuspecting sister in the back when she got home from work and started to walk up the stairs to her bedroom, Carlstrom wrote.
Jenne has no known family or criminal history.
According to the charges:
At 12:33 a.m. on Dec. 19, the Sammamish man called 911 and reported that he had received a phone call from his tenant, who said she had just been shot at the house she was renting from him.
When police arrived, officers looked through the front windows and saw a woman sitting on a bed, then saw her stand and fall to the living room floor. They instructed her to come outside and when she didn’t comply, the officers broke into the house through a sliding-glass door at the back of the house. The officers found an 85-year-old woman with an electrical cord wrapped around her neck. One officer removed the cord as others searched the rest of the house.
On the bed where the woman had been sitting, police found a revolver with six spent cartridges in the cylinder, “which means it was fully loaded and all its bullets had been fired,” the charges say.
Officers found the 44-year-old in her upstairs bedroom with a gunshot wound that had entered her back and exited her chest. She later told officers at the hospital that she didn’t know who shot her but saw a shadowy figure in the kitchen as she ascended the stairs.
Oyuga, who had multiple gunshot wounds to her back, chest and arm, was found dead on the floor between a rec room and the door to the garage. Officers also found a bloody hammer and screwdriver on the kitchen counter, and a pool of blood on the floor directly below the tools.
In an interview with the Sammamish buyer, police learned the house was under renovation and the sisters had allowed Jenne to continue living in the house until she could find another place to live. He described Jenne as having “lived like a hoarder” and so he built an outdoor shed to store Jenne’s belongings. During the recent clean up, he told officers he had seen two guns, a rifle and what appeared to be an antique firearm, but he didn’t know where they were.
A neighbor told police he had possession of two of Jenne’s rifles but said she kept a handgun in her car.
Police searched a 1977 Chevrolet Malibu sedan parked in the driveway that was registered to Jenne. Inside, officers found Jenne’s will and a handwritten note dated Dec. 18 at 10:58 p.m.
“Janet is not a very nice person, she drove me to this,” the note begins, according to the charges, and goes on to accuse Oyuga of taking Jenne’s possessions. “Janet just pushed and pushed and I just couldn’t cope anymore as I had no one to help me … I think she was getting ready to [e]vict me and I’m 85 and no place to go.”
The note also referenced two cemetery plots owned by Jenne, and she specified that she didn’t want to be buried next to her ex-husband, the charges say.
Jenne was arrested at the scene and taken to the hospital for emergency medical treatment:
“She had ligature marks around her neck, a laceration to her head requiring three staples, bruising to both sides of her forehead, and a small abrasion to her right hand,” according to the charges.
After she was released from the hospital, Jenne was brought to the Federal Way police station for an interview. But before she could be questioned, Jenne became unresponsive and was taken back to the hospital, the charges say.
Jenne is scheduled to be arraigned at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent on Jan. 6.