DA files habitual counts in Monument slaying

David Norman, charged with murder in the death of Kathy Fortner.

The District Attorney’s office this morning filed habitual criminal charges against a Grand Junction parolee accused of killing his girlfriend and dumping her body in Colorado National Monument.

David James Norman, 44, would be parole eligible in his 90’s if convicted of the four habitual criminal counts, aside from second-degree murder, tampering with physical evidence, false reporting and abuse of a corpse. Norman was formally charged this morning in a complaint filed by District Attorney Pete Hautzinger.

Norman, who is unable to post bond at the Mesa County Jail because of a parole hold, was charged earlier this month in the death of his girlfriend, 49-year-old Kathy Fortner, whose body was discovered by tourists on the afternoon of July 2 near the west entrance of Colorado National Monument.

An arrest warrant affidavit said Norman reported Fortner missing on the morning of July 2, telling authorities she’d left their North Avenue apartment following an argument over him using his cellphone too much. Deputies who responded to the missing person report discovered blood in the bed of Norman’s pickup truck, which later proved to be Fortner’s, according to the affidavit.

An autopsy showed Fortner died of multiple blunt-force injuries to the head.

Norman’s truck was seen on surveillance video at the Monument’s west entrance in the early morning hours of July 2; at one point he appears to be looking directly into one of the cameras.

Norman had been serving parole stemming from a 2002 assault conviction in Summit County. He was also convicted in 1993 of receiving stolen property in California, aside from a conviction in 2000 Oklahoma for carrying a firearm with a prior felony conviction.


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