It looks as if a Chester man will spend the rest of his life in prison for killing his wife and two others on Thanksgiving night 2017.
Chesterfield Circuit Court Judge T.J. Hauler last week sentenced Christopher Gattis, 59, to 100 years in prison with 45 suspended for each of three murder convictions that will run concurrently. Gattis also received three years for one conviction of using a firearm to commit a felony, which when added to the 55 from the murder convictions, results in a 58-year sentence. Two other firearms charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement. Gattis was also ordered to pay a fine of $6,072.
Chesterfield police officer N.C. Frazier arrived at 14955 Dogwood Ridge Court at 11:33 p.m. Nov. 23, 2017, court documents state, and found Gattis sitting on the front steps looking down with his hands in his lap.
One of the victims, Andrew Buthorn, 36, was lying on the ground a few feet away with two gunshot wounds to the stomach.
Frazier handcuffed Gattis at 11:35 p.m. Gattis said that he shot three people and said Buthorn threatened his life, according to court documents. It was after that statement that Frazier read Gattis his Miranda rights.
Defense attorney John A. Rockecharlie filed a motion to suppress Gattis’ initial statement based on alleged violations of the 5th and 14th amendments to the Constitution, but Hauler ruled against it due to what is known as the “public safety exception.” Commonwealth’s attorney Kenneth M. Chitty contended that Frazier placed Gattis in an “investigative detention.” Hauler ruled that all of Frazier’s body camera video could be considered as evidence.
Among the items submitted as evidence by Chitty were: texts from the cell phones of Gattis’ wife, Jeanett L. Gattis, 58, and Gattis’ stepdaughter, Candize L. Kunze, 30, a still photo of Buthorn hiding behind a table that was on his girlfriend Kunze’s cell phone, and photos of Christopher Gattis’ injuries taken when he was booked into the jail.
A representative of Vector Security had called Christopher Gattis’ phone at 11:28 p.m. in response to an alarm.
Gattis had been a youth minister at Grace Lutheran Church.