Man pleads guilty in Johnson County to premeditated murder of pregnant girlfriend

A Shawnee man pleaded guilty to two counts of premeditated first-degree murder in the shooting death of his pregnant girlfriend inside an apartment nearly 14 months ago, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Doniel Lee Sublett Jr., 29, entered the plea during a hearing Wednesday in Johnson County District Court as the District Attorney’s Office filed an amended criminal complaint charging Sublett with an additional murder count for the death of the unborn baby.

Sublett has been held in the Johnson County jail on a $3 million bond since the killing of his girlfriend Kathleen Dampier, 25, on Sept. 18, 2022.

Shawnee police were first dispatched to the apartment in the 7400 block of Flint Street in response to a call for medical assistance there. An officer met with a witness in the parking lot who reported hearing a gunshot.

As the first officer was on scene, according to court documents, another gunshot was heard. Sublett left through the front door and was arrested after a brief foot chase.

Inside the apartment, Dampier was found dead of an apparent gunshot wound to the head. She was on a couch in the living room area of the apartment.

A neighbor also told responding officers of a person attempting to get inside her apartment and fiddling with a fire extinguisher box mounted on a common area wall outside the door. Police located a firearm inside the extinguisher box and a set of car keys on the ground near the neighboring apartment where Dampier was found, according to court documents.

Other witnesses, including residents of the apartment, told police at the time that Sublett and Dampier had come over to do laundry that afternoon. They reported no known tensions between the two, describing them as an on-and-off couple for as long as three years.

An autopsy performed by the Johnson County Medical Examiner’s Office later confirmed Dampier was pregnant at the time of her death.

Under Kansas statutes, specifically a provision known as Alexa’s law, prosecutors have the authority to charge a person with murder, manslaughter and other crimes in cases where a violent act harms an unborn child at any developmental stage from conception.

Sublett is to be sentenced in Johnson County District Court next year. A hearing date is scheduled for June 10.