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Drunken Portland bartender, 44, is convicted of shooting boyfriend dead after booze-fueled argument over the meaning of THANKSGIVING before she fled and crashed car

  • Barbara Michelle, 44, shot and killed Justin Williams, 41, outside a tavern last year after they both had a heated argument over Thanksgiving
  • The jury found her guilty of first-degree manslaughter, first-degree assault and unlawful use of a weapon
  • Michelle will be sentenced early next week

A Portland bartender has been found guilty of murdering her boyfriend after a heated argument over the meaning of Thanksgiving.

Barbara Michelle, 44, shot and killed Justin Williams, 41, outside the Bluebird Tavern in Portland last year after they both had an alcohol-fueled argument.

Williams died two days later at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center.

She was immediately arrested after police arrived on the scene and was arraigned in Multnomah County Circuit Court.

Michelle explained that she acted in self-defense, but the jury found that not feasible.

They found her guilty of first-degree manslaughter, first-degree assault, unlawful use of a weapon and driving under the influence of intoxicants.

She will be sentenced early next week.

A Portland bartender has been found guilty of murdering her boyfriend after a heated argument about the meaning of Thanksgiving (Photo: Victim, Justin Williams)

A Portland bartender has been found guilty of murdering her boyfriend after a heated argument about the meaning of Thanksgiving (Photo: Victim, Justin Williams)

Barbara Michelle, 44, shot and killed Justin Williams, 41, last year outside the Bluebird Tavern in Portland after they both had an alcohol-fueled argument

Barbara Michelle, 44, shot and killed Justin Williams, 41, last year outside the Bluebird Tavern in Portland after they both had an alcohol-fueled argument

Michelle testified that after her bartender shift at the Perch Tavern ended, she waited for her new boyfriend to see him.

According to the killer, Williams was annoyed that she hadn't answered her phone after he arrived, but surveillance footage soon showed the two happily drinking.

The couple then drove to the Bluebird Tavern, where Williams was a regular, to continue drinking.

She further told the court that the Native American couple began discussing the meaning of Thanksgiving.

The lawyers said there was a disagreement because Michelle didn't celebrate Thanksgiving, but Williams did.

Michelle claimed she was trying to de-escalate the situation, saying: 'He kept poking at me. He was rude. So rude. He just kept standing over me.”

But footage showed Michelle leaning into Williams and gesturing in his face as he stood passively in a corner.

Officers responded to the 8700 block of North Lombard Street on a report of a shooting

Officers responded to the 8700 block of North Lombard Street on a report of a shooting

At the time of her arrest, a witness said Williams and Michelle had been asked to leave the bar when they began arguing loudly and appeared intoxicated.

Prosecutors noted that Michelle's last words as she left the inn were, “I'm going to kill him.”

While Michelle testified that the comment to the inn's bartender was “irritated humor,” Deputy District Attorney Melissa Marrero told the jury, “Jokes like that don't turn out to be funny when a man is dying.”

CCTV footage shows the couple pushing each other.

At the same time, two bystanders told police that the pair continued to argue, with Michelle eventually pulling a revolver from her purse and shouting that she was going to “shoot his head off.”

Defense attorney Joshua McCain told the court Michelle told Williams to stay away from her while she held the gun, but he stepped forward and she fired a warning shot into the ground.

“He just keeps coming at her,” McCain said.

Michelle then shot Williams once in the chest as he took another step forward, sending a bullet into his spine.

“You can't shoot someone because he pushed you,” Marrero said. “She brought a gun to a shoving match.”

The court could sentence Michelle to a minimum of ten years in prison next week.