A man considered a soldier in the Satan's Disciples gang was convicted Tuesday of first-degree murder in the December 2016 stabbing death of his friend and acquaintance, 20-year-old Caleb Fettig.
Terrence "TJ" Richardson, 23, "went hunting" for Fettig by seeking him out before stabbing him to death Dec. 5 at the A&W Mobile Home Park, 2837 North Ave., Mesa County District Court Judge Gretchen Larson said while releasing her verdict Tuesday morning.
"The court will never know" whether Fettig was killed, "because of a drug deal gone bad or as reason for (Richardson) to earn his stars and stripes" with the gang," Larson said in her ruling.
Larson ruled on Richardson's case Tuesday following a two-week bench trial that started in late January.
She said evidence and witness statements showed Richardson walked with Fettig to the area where the victim's body was found. Richardson had time to pick up a co-conspirator, stab the victim and ditch the knife and his bloody clothes at a nearby apartment where Chris Wilson, the head of Satan's Disciples, lived, Larson said. Richardson was arrested at Wilson's home four days after the killing, she said.
Fettig was stabbed 46 times in the face, neck and stomach and Richardson bragged about killing the victim to several people in the days after Fettig's death, telling at least two people he "watched the life go out of Caleb's eyes," Larson said.
Richardson will be sentenced Feb. 21. He was convicted of first-degree murder, second-degree murder and first-degree assault.
Fettig's mother, Brenda Dougherty, said after Larson's ruling that the past two years have been "torture" waiting for some closure in the case.
She has been grieving for her son, but also trying to be strong for her other children.
"I think that we can move forward," she said, adding the her son's violent death has left permanent scars on her family. "The way my son died was horrendous. The manner of his death was so violent and unnecessary."