Kin: Suspect bragged 
about thrill of killing

Police tape cordons off an Aug. 11, 2010, crime scene near the Fifth Street bridge, where Joseph Conn is alleged to have murdered homeless man Willard “Mike” Bobbitt. Conn recently returned to Mesa County to face first-degree murder charges in the killing.



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Police tape cordons off an Aug. 11, 2010, crime scene near the Fifth Street bridge, where Joseph Conn is alleged to have murdered homeless man Willard “Mike” Bobbitt. Conn recently returned to Mesa County to face first-degree murder charges in the killing.

A California convicted killer charged in the slaying of a homeless man sleeping along the Colorado River in 2010 told his brother he killed the man, “because he thought he could get away with it,” according to court records recently made public.

Joseph Conn, 25, admitted he didn’t know 36-year-old Willard “Mike” Bobbitt, whose body was found floating under the Fifth Street bridge on the evening of Aug. 11, 2010.

The affidavit said Conn told his brother he’d stabbed Bobbitt multiple times in the chest and neck — adding he’d got blood all over himself and experienced an ‘adrenaline rush’ during the stabbing — before walking away.

“Joseph told (brother) he returned to the victim about an hour later and saw the victim was still moving,” the affidavit said. “Joseph told (brother) he crushed the victim’s head with a rock and then drug him into the river.”

“Joseph,” the man’s brother told police, “showed no remorse for the murder.”

Conn, who’s already serving a life prison sentence for his conviction in the beating death of a man in Sacramento, Calif., four months after Bobbitt’s killing, was transported to Mesa County on Dec. 5 to face charges including first-degree murder. Conn is unable to post bond at the Mesa County Jail and is expected back in court in February.

The warrant in Conn’s case, which had been sealed for two years, was recently made public.

Conn was identified by an anonymous tipster as a suspect in Bobbitt’s killing nine days after the body was discovered, the affidavit said. The tipster indicated Conn drove to California with his then-girlfriend several days after Bobbitt’s killing.

Interviewed by a detective before fleeing to California, Conn on Aug. 27, 2010, denied involvement.

Conn’s mother in California later told police her son confided about doing “something bad” in Colorado, but said she didn’t know what. In a separate interview, she told a detective he’d admitted to a murder, the affidavit said. Police tracked down Conn’s brother in Grand Junction, who gave the detailed account of Conn’s alleged admissions.

“(Brother) said Joseph told him he lost his knife during the assault or just after it and was worried the police would find it and find his prints on it,” the affidavit said.

“(Brother) said Joseph made him swear on his son he wouldn’t tell anyone,” the affidavit said.

The brother added Conn’s girlfriend was upset at Conn only “for ruining a new pair of pants.”

Police also tracked down a friend of Conn’s from California, who said Conn had called him approximately one hour after Bobbitt’s killing. Cellphone records confirmed calls placed between the men on the day of Bobbitt’s death, the affidavit said.

“(Friend) said Joseph was excited after killing the victim,” the affidavit said. “He said the person Joe killed was a bum asleep in a sleeping bag. He said Joe told him the subject woke up during the attack and was asking him ‘Why, brother why?’”

After the slaying, Conn reportedly called a relative asking for a ride to that person’s home, where his clothes were burned.

The morning after Bobbitt’s killing — well before his body had been found — Conn returned to the Fifth Street bridge and retrieved the knife blade. Conn threw it back into the river at the pedestrian bridge, near Eagle Rim Park.

Bobbitt’s last known address was in Montrose, while an obituary published by The Daily Sentinel said he was survived by a son and daughter, ages 12 and 9. Bobbitt graduated from Montrose High School in 1992 and was working as a cowboy and ranch hand around the time of his death, the notice said.



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