NEW BRUNSWICK – A Carteret woman was convicted of aggravated manslaughter last week in the 2006 killing of a Rahway man.
After three days of deliberations, the jury found Janean Owens, 23, guilty of manslaughter, conspiracy to commit theft, theft and several weapons charges. The acquitted her on charges of murder, felony murder and robbery.
Superior Court Judge Bradley Ferencz set June 22 as the tentative sentencing date, when Owens could receive more than 30 years in state prison.
Owens shot Robert Funderbunk in head while he was driving her and two of her friends to a gas station in Carteret to buy cigarettes, according to testimony during the two-week trial. The trio then drove Funderbunk’s SUV to Newark and dumped his body near a Dumpster, where it was found the next day. They took his money and jewelry.
Funderbunk, 42, was a maintenance worker at the Woodbridge Developmental Center, a state-run facility for people with developmental disabilities. On Oct. 20, 2006, he asked Owens, a friend of his daughter’s to go with him to a gas station to buy cigarettes.
According to testimony, Owens agreed to go but asked him to stop and pick up two of her friends including her boyfriend, Keith McBride. Owens went to her apartment to get McBride, and when they came down they had a handgun wrapped in a red scarf. She got into the back seat of the SUV, behind Funderbunk. She told police the gun went off accidentally.
Funderberk’s family attended the entire trial. Although Funderberk’s sister, LaDonna, was disappointed Owens wasn’t convicted of murder, she said the family must accept the verdict.
“She could have gotten more and she could have gotten less,” she said. “At least she got it (convicted). We’re glad she didn’t get away with it.”