Phila. woman gets life for killing her mother

Jahina Damon also set a fire, injuring two.
Jahina Damon also set a fire, injuring two.
Posted: July 26, 2014

A mentally ill Southwest Philadelphia woman was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without parole in a bizarre 2007 incident in which she shot and killed her mother and then set the house ablaze, critically burning her mother's friend.

Jahina Damon, 36, was sentenced by Common Pleas Court Judge Steven R. Geroff, who found her guilty of first-degree murder but mentally ill following a Feb. 18 nonjury trial.

Damon said nothing before she was sentenced. Assistant District Attorney Thomas Lipscomb said she will serve her term in a state-designated facility for the mentally ill.

Damon, who had a long history of mental illness and confrontations with her mother, was arrested Dec. 20, 2007, in Hagerstown, Md. Twelve hours earlier, police said, she showed up before dawn at the home of her mother, Lolita Lee, on Cobbs Creek Parkway near 60th Street.

Police said Damon told her mother she had a court date later in the day but then asked her mother; her mother's boyfriend, Don Harmon; and another friend, Kelly Winters, who was visiting, to gather in the dining room.

Damon then launched into a disjointed conversation that ended when she turned around with a handgun and began shooting.

Damon hit her 53-year-old mother in the chest, killing her. She also shot at Harmon and Winters, but missed. Then, with Harmon and Winters still in the room, Damon threw an accelerant on the floor and lit it.

Harmon, 67, managed to escape with injuries, but Winters, 49, was badly burned, and left disfigured and in pain for the rest of her life. The home was destroyed.

Lipscomb said Winters died in March 2011, but the Delaware County Medical Examiner's Office ruled her death from natural causes, not burns sustained in the fire. Lipscomb said Winters' stepfather, Rodney Sigel, gave a victim-impact statement describing Winters' tortured final years.


jslobodzian@phillynews.com

215-854-2985 @joeslobo

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