Alleged dealer had ‘unsatisfied customers’

Vernon Muth


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When Kenneth Muth last spoke with his brother, Vernon, they talked about meeting to plan a trip to Arkansas.

They never met.

Kenneth Muth went to his brother’s apartment each of the three days following their last conversation, but he was unable to contact Vernon and observed his pickup hadn’t been moved over the three days. A worried Kenneth Muth called the apartment complex manager on April 3, 1989.

Vernon John Muth, 48, had been shot three times in the head inside his unit at Rocky Mountain Court, 1211 S. Fifth St. Grand Junction police estimated he’d been dead three days before the apartment manager, Harold Ault, found the body following a worried phone call from Kenneth Muth.

A temporary laborer, Vernon Muth had lived in the apartment five years, paid rent on time and otherwise kept to himself, Ault and neighbors told The Daily Sentinel. One neighbor reported hearing gunshots in the evening three days earlier, adding, “I thought I was imagining it.”

“He was the type that would go ahead and help anybody out,” the neighbor told The Sentinel in the days after the murder.

There were no obvious signs of struggle in the apartment, police said. Most of Muth’s known friends were local transients, according to Grand Junction Police Department Cmdr. Mike Nordine, head of the agency’s investigations division.

“He made a living selling pot, and ran into problems with unsatisfied customers on a regular basis,” Nordine said. “There were several people who were not happy with Mr. Muth.”

Nordine, however, said the department never determined a strong motive for Muth’s killing.


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