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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    928

    WY - Richard Jahnke, 38, shot to death, Cheyenne, 16 Nov 1982

    Greetings All!

    Did not see a thread about the Jahnke children. Richard and Deborah here at Webslueths, so I decided to create a thread just for them! This was a landmark case for it's time, as the children were horrifying abused almost non-stop for fourteen years by their father Richard Jahnke Sr. Finally, reaching the breaking point, Richard Jr. shot and killed his father Richard Jahnke Sr. as he and his wife returned home from an anniversary dinner in November of 1982. His sister Deborah, had a back-up gun in self defense. The children lived in fear of their father literally all their lives.

    Richard and Deborah were tried and convicted the crime. I think the DA wanted to prosecute for first or second degree murder and he was convicted of voluntary manslaughter. Richard I think got ten years in prison and Deborah I think get five years. I am not sure, can anyone help with the exact sentencing?

    The conviction outraged the community. The Jahnke's had moved from Arizona to Wyoming and I believe the governor of Wyoming issued a reprieve for Richard in 1984 and for Deborah in 1985. Does this mean that the conviction was completely overturned? I really thought that self-defense was so obvious in this case! I was shocked at the original verdict as well! I watched the TV movie based on the case called "Right to Kill?" In later years, I found out more about what a horrifying person Richard Jahnke Sr. was. You can do a search and find out some of the terrible things he did. It's beyond all comprehension the abuse that the family suffered!

    Anyway, I found out that years later, Richard and Deborah changed their names. Richard I heard was married twice and has children. I am not sure, but I think Deborah may have helped out at a homeless shelter at some time. Is it known where they are living today? I think about them often. I think Richard had no choice but to kill his father in self defense to protect his family.

    This thread's for anyone who wants to talk about the case, who might have more accurate information about the case, or anyone who wants to remember Richard and Debra in the hopes that they found peace and love.

    Satch
    Last edited by bessie; 10-15-2013 at 11:39 PM. Reason: corrected misspelled name

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    928
    Hi All,

    I must apologize for the inconsistent spelling of Deborah's name in the original post. It is correct as "Deborah" NOT "Debra." Tried to edit, but the WS forum does not allow the editing of posts after a specified time except by admins/mods. I mention this because if you are Web searching for research on the case, everyone should have the correct spelling of Deborah's name.

    I also found out that the governor of Wyoming communed Deborah's and Richard's sentences. It wasn't a full reprieve. I really need to watch "Right to Kill?" again and get the exact information! The movie is hard to watch! Actor Frederic Forrest played Richard Jahanke Sr. and by all accounts was chillingly accurate in his role. I think the movie is on You Tube. Not sure if it's on DVD.

    Satch

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    928
    Powerful article from 1983 about this horrific case: ( a tearjerker!)

    http://www.people.com/people/article...084430,00.html

    Satch

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    928
    Here are some more archived headlines about the case:

    http://mylifeofcrime.wordpress.com/2...2-cheyenne-wy/

    Satch

    PS. I read that the sentences were later communed by the Governor of Wyoming. Here is information about this:

    http://www.nytimes.com/1984/12/18/us...r-s-death.html



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