Grand Junction's David Norman has been charged as a habitual criminal in the slaying of his girlfriend, Kathy Fortner -- and an arrest affidavit on view below suggests that his attempts to get out from under suspicion in the terrible crime were foiled by two separate pieces of video.
In one, he's seen apparently dumping Fortner's body near the Colorado National Monument. In the other, footage shows him seemingly trying, and failing, to wash all her blood from the bed of his truck. Continue for photos, video and additional details.
According to the aforementioned affidavit, Norman has racked up some serious beefs over time. At the time of his arrest in the Fortner case, he was on parole for an assault in Summit County during which he's said to have severely beaten a Super 8 motel clerk, and ripped hair from her scalp, after two of his credit cards were declined. He also had a 1993 conviction in California for receiving felony property and a 2000 offense in Oklahoma related to carrying a firearm while on probation.
Despite this criminal history, Norman's the one who initially reached out to the law -- specifically the Mesa County Sheriff's Office -- to report Fortner missing the morning of July 2. The document quotes him as telling a deputy that Fortner left at around 10:30 p.m. the night before after an argument. She was supposedly "pissed about me being on the phone.... I'm always on the phone," he maintained. He quoted her as declaring, "You are on the phone all the goddamn time. Fuck this, I'm going walking."
Fortner was said to have left the home without taking her purse or any money. When she didn't return, Norman told the deputy he'd texted and tried phoning her several times during the night and received no answers. He was concerned about her absence in part to what he he described as Fortner's proclivity for seizures -- and she hadn't taken her medication with her. He added that he served as Fortner's "custodian" due to a Social Security determination that she was not to be responsible for her own finances.
A convincing story? Perhaps, but it was undercut by a couple of factors. The deputy noticed a persistent smell of bleach, a substance often used to destroy evidence of crimes -- and upon looking at Norman's ride, a 1984 Ford truck, he noticed what appeared to be blood in the bed and on the back bumper, from which he took a swab.
This turned out to be a wise idea, because just after noon that day, law enforcers were dispatched to an area near the west entrance of the Colorado National Monument after a body was found. It was subsequently identified as Fortner, whose death was soon ruled a homicide due to multiple blunt force injuries, most of them near the head.
Possible murder weapons included a baseball bat, a shovel, a rock or even a human fist.
Continue for more about the arrest and charging of David Norman, including additional photos, a video and the arrest affidavit.
Fortunately for investigators, the Colorado National Monument has closed-circuit cameras at the entry and pay stations -- and one of them caught sight of a truck passing by and stopping near the spot where Fortner's body was found just after midnight on July 2. At one point, the driver pivots toward the camera. Authorities identified him as Norman.
A few days later, deputies stumbled upon another key piece of video, this one from a Grand Junction car wash. Shot about a half hour after the images from the Colorado National Monument, it showed Norman pulling into a bay and washing down the truck bed.
He missed a few spots, and they were critical. The blood from the swab taken by the deputy was tested, and it was Fortner's.
In the end, Norman was arrested and charged with second-degree murder, tampering with physical evidence, false reporting and abuse of a corpse. As noted by the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, conviction on all these counts under the habitual criminal statute would mean he wouldn't be eligible for release until he was in his nineties.
Look below to see a KREX-TV report about Norman's arrest, followed by a larger look at Norman's booking photo and the arrest affidavit.
In the meantime, our condolences to Fortner's friends, family and loved ones.
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More from our Mile High Murder archive: "77 homicides in year four of Mile High Murder: See where they happened, part one."