Why David Batty Got the Max for Horrific Murder

A Facebook photo of David Batty.
A Facebook photo of David Batty. Facebook
Update: David Batty, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for killing Tonya Lei Webster last year, has been sentenced to 48 years in jail. It's the maximum punishment possible in Colorado for the crime. But the horrific nature of Batty's actions, which included sodomizing Webster with a novelty baseball bat after strangling her to death, was only one reason for the length of this jolt.

According to the 19th Judicial District DA's office, which prosecuted the case, Batty has past convictions dating back to 1981, with most of them centered around domestic violence. For instance, he was still on probation at the time of the Webster slaying after being found guilty of second-degree assault against Cheriee Schlotthauer, his then-girlfriend, back in 2010. A photo of Schlotthauer taken shortly after Batty's assault on her is included in our previous coverage, on view below.

Randy Webster, Tonya's husband, whose previous Facebook comments about the case are also shared in our earlier report, took the stand at Batty's sentencing hearing to ask that he get the max. "This person — I hate to call him a man — has a history of violence against women," he said. "He killed the mother of two children. He killed my wife. The only thing I can say is, there’s no replacing her."

Also issuing a statement was Deputy District Attorney Tate Costin. In her words, "This defendant is too dangerous of a person to be in this community. To top off his heinous act, he spent the next few days with a body in his closet like nothing happened. Ms. Webster would have turned 48 the year he murdered her. It’s only appropriate that he gets the maximum of 48 years.”

Continue for more details about this tragic case.

click to enlarge David Batty's 2016 booking photo. - 19TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT DA'S OFFICE
David Batty's 2016 booking photo.
19th Judicial District DA's office
Original post, 6:41 a.m. July 13: David Batty has pleaded guilty to killing Tonya Lei Webster, a mother of two, in March 2016 and placing her body in a trunk. And while the arrest affidavit in the case remains sealed at this writing, prosecutors have revealed that Webster was violated with a novelty baseball bat after her death.

Warning: The information shared in this post may disturb some readers.

As we've reported in two previous posts about this crime, Batty has a lengthy criminal record that includes a 2010 domestic-abuse beef.

Cheriee Schlotthauer, the victim in that case, allowed a photo taken of her after the incident to be broadcast following Batty's arrest.

click to enlarge A photo of injuries Cheriee Schlotthauer suffered at David Batty's hands, shared after his arrest. - DENVER7 FILE PHOTO
A photo of injuries Cheriee Schlotthauer suffered at David Batty's hands, shared after his arrest.
Denver7 file photo
In a November 2014 post on his now-deleted Facebook page, Batty suggested that such actions were a thing of the past, in part because he'd given up intoxicants.

"For the first time, I am very happy with my life," he wrote, adding, "I am getting my shit together. I am talking with my family. I have got an awesome lady in my life. I have got a lot of work to do yet, but I will not give up. Being sober is an awesome thing."

His last Facebook post, shared in January 2016, announced that Batty was "in a relationship" — news that brought multiple congratulations from friends.

But a few months later, his life took a very different and extremely troubling turn.

Batty had been living in an apartment in a converted house located on the 1400 block of 9th Avenue in Greeley, and on March 16, two parole officers showed up for what was described as an unannounced visit.

The home where Webster's body was discovered. - DENVER7 FILE PHOTO
The home where Webster's body was discovered.
Denver7 file photo
According to the 19th Judicial District DA's office, which prosecuted his case, Batty had failed to show up for parole appointments and work.

In an inspection that followed, they located a woman's body in a trunk that was being kept in a closet.

The victim was later ID'd as Webster, whose husband, Randy, posted the following on his Facebook page on March 30, two weeks after her body was discovered:
For those who don't know as of yet my wife was murdered. Supposedly by a friend of hers.... The police have not given me any more information as of yet as to how this happened or even cause of death.
In April 2016, after 19th Judicial District DA Michael J. Rourke confirmed that Batty had been charged with first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse, Randy responded by Facebooking the basic facts under the headline "The Worthless Loss of Life."

A Facebook photo of the late Tonya Lei Webster. - FACEBOOK
A Facebook photo of the late Tonya Lei Webster.
Here's how the piece concludes:
This is the reason for prison terms. This sorry sack killed my wife, taking a loving mother from her two kids. She will never get to see her son graduate, see her daughter marry. All because he couldn’t control his temper. An eleven year old girl should never have to go through this and a 17 year old son should not have to deal with this. With one decision, this crap head destroyed 5 lives, not just one. 
Few additional details emerged about what happened over the year that followed. But in recent weeks, after Batty pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, the DA's office revealed that the suspect, now 53, had been friends with the 47-year-old Webster for several years before their relationship became, in the prosecutors' word, "intimate."

On a night she came to his apartment for sex, the DA's office account continues, Batty took her life in an extraordinarily brutal way. The autopsy reportedly showed that Webster was fatally strangled, after which she was sodomized with a novelty baseball bat. The examination also showed that she sustained a broken nose and bruises on her face and other parts of her body, as well as blunt-force trauma.

The second-degree-murder plea carries with it a maximum sentence of 48 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections. Batty will be sentenced on August 14.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts