DA tacks on ‘habitual’ tag in slaying case

David Norman

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

David James Norman, 44, would be parole-eligible in his 90s if convicted of the four habitual criminal counts lodged on Tuesday, in addition to second-degree murder, tampering with physical evidence, false reporting and abuse of a corpse. Norman was formally charged 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, 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 allegedly 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, according to police.

Norman had been serving parole stemming from a 2002 assault conviction in Summit County. A Dillon police officer wrote in an arrest affidavit that a female clerk at a Super 8 Motel was, “severely beaten with head and facial injuries including hair ripped from her scalp,” after Norman’s two credit cards were declined as she tried to check him in. He was convicted of robbery and second-degree assault causing serious bodily injury, and sentenced to serve 16 years in prison.

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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