Grand Junction man admits to killing mother in fight over cigarette

(Credit: Mesa County Sheriff's Office)

(Credit: Mesa County Sheriff's Office)

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — Maybe it proves no good deed goes unpunished. Or maybe it proves crime doesn’t pay. Regardless, a Grand Junction woman is dead, killed by the son she agreed to harbor from the law in the midst of a petty argument, according to an arrest affidavit.

Mesa County authorities found the body of Kathleen Stetzel, which was mostly picked to the bone by animals, in a desert north of Grand Junction in mid July. Her family immediately suspected her son, Daniel Stetzel, an escaped parolee.

Police had been looking for Stetzel since June, when he allegedly walked away from a halfway house. According to his arrest affidavit, Stetzel admitted to police earlier this week that he killed his mother during a fight over a single cigarette.

Stetzel told detectives that in the midst of the fight, his mother slapped him and was attempting to choke him. Stetzel told detectives that he grabbed a screwdriver and stabbed his mother in the neck repeatedly “out of reflex” in self defense, before grabbing a nearby sheet and strangling her to death.

After killing his mother, Stezel told detectives he cleaned up the scene and dumped her body in hopes of avoiding another prison sentence.

According to Stetzel, this isn’t the first time a confrontation with his mother has landed him behind bars. He told detectives that he spent five years in prison after punching his mother in the face in 2008, according to the arrest affidavit.

Stetzel is schizophrenic, according to his family. He is also a multiple felon who has been arrested more than 17 times on charges ranging from resisting arrest to robbery to assault.


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