Man accused in slayings appears in court



In a case the district attorney calls fatal domestic violence, a man suspected of killing a young Sonora woman in December made his first court appearance Friday to hear the charges against him.

The victim, 21-year-old Jennifer Lynn Coons, died Dec. 1 after being shot once in the chest at a Big Hill rental house. Kristopher Lee McDaniel, 30, the convicted felon accused of the slaying, appeared in Tuolumne County Superior Court via video from the Tuolumne County Jail where he is held without bail.

McDaniel was arrested Dec. 17 while hiding in a Standard area apartment. He is charged with murder, manufacturing methamphetamine, possessing a controlled substance, being a felon in possession of a firearm and possessing stolen property.

If convicted as charged, he could face 25 years to life in prison.

McDaniel did not enter a plea Friday. Instead, his court-appointed attorney, Jim Webster of Sonora, asked for two weeks to read the nearly 600 pages of sheriff's department reports outlining the case.

Tuolumne County District Attorney Donald Segerstrom said he believes McDaniel shot Coons while she, McDaniel and Jerry Christopher Coey, another parolee, were at the Big Hill rental house.

Segerstrom alleges Coey was outside the house in a shed where the two men had been making methamphetamine. Coons and McDaniel were inside the house, and McDaniel shot Coons during an argument, Segerstrom said.

"This is what happens when domestic violence gets out of hand," Segerstrom told the court.

Coey took Coons to Tuolumne General Hospital about 2 p.m. that December afternoon, and she died a short time later. An autopsy revealed a single bullet severed the woman's coronary artery and lodged in her lower chest.

After talking with deputies at the hospital, Coey was booked on suspicion of parole violation. Tuesday, Segerstrom also charged Coey with one count of manufacturing methamphetamine. Coey has pleaded not guilty to the charge and is awaiting a preliminary hearing, which is set for Friday.

Segerstrom said he doesn't believe Coey was involved with Coons' slaying.

The Union Democrat
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