"I will go out. I will leave": Wife, stepdaughter and her boyfriend pleaded for their lives before ex-pastor killed them
A former pastor has been areested for killing his family on thanksgiving and he is expected to spend the rest of his life in prison.
A former pastor was indicted and then arrested for killing his wife, step-daughter, and her boyfriend on Thanksgiving night. The court sentenced him to 100 years behind the bars after it saw a video recording, in which one of the victims (his step daughter's boyfriend) was heard pleading for life. Accused, Christopher R. Gattis, 59, pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree murder.
It all started with Christopher and his wife, Jeanett got into an argument over her daughter Candice Kunze, 30, and boyfriend Andrew Buthorn's prolonged stay at their house. Christopher was reportedly upset with his wife's children overstaying their welcome and made his intentions clear that he wanted them out of his house, two days before the killing.
At the trial, the court also saw a chilling video clip taken by Jeanette, which she recorded days before the killings. The video showed Christopher talking to his wife, her daughter Candice Kunze, 30, and boyfriend Andrew Buthorn.
As reported by Richmond-Times Dispatch, Candice's phone was recording, at the time, when just before midnight, Christopher walked into their kitchen with a loaded pistol. The video saw Christopher shooting and killing Candice and captured Andrew crouched behind a table pleading for him to have mercy. "I will go out. I will leave," Andrew was heard saying in the video. Christopher shot his wife first, then his daughter and lastly, Andrew, who was trying to escape the house with the hope of saving himself.
The court also heard that days before Christopher committed the murder, there had been a feud which was developing between him and the rest of the family. Two days before the ill-fated day, the family fought over the same topic, while Jeanette, Andrew, and Candice were playing a board game. During this argument, the court documents state that Christopher, who had been drinking, shoved his wife and allegedly tried to punch her before his nephew, who was also at the house for the holiday, interceded.
The argument started because Christopher did not want his wife's daughter and boyfriend, who were physical therapists, to stay at his house, any longer. He was reportedly okay with them to stay for a few days but it had been weeks since Candice and Andrew moved into the house and this disturbed him. The strange atmosphere around the house lasted for over 48 hours, up until the day of the murder. In his last attempt to make Andrew and Candice understand, Christopher tried to talk them into leaving.
At around 6 pm, Christopher went to confront Candice and Andrew while the two relaxed in a hot tub in the backyard. The scene was captured on the surveillance camera that was in the backyard. Shaking his finger, Christopher demanded the couple to leave, but his wife intervened and recorded the confrontation with her cellphone. At about 11.15pm on the same day, Christopher went upstairs, retrieved his Taurus .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol, and then walked into the kitchen where the family was playing a board game.
Christopher killed all of them one by one and emptied his gun. The court also heard Christopher's nephew during the trial, who claimed that Jeanette had requested him to hide Christopher's gun as she feared he might do something with it. Meanwhile, the videos that were recorded by Jeanette were played in the court.
Christopher initially claimed that he was threatened, saying "they all came after me" and he shot them "when they all ganged up on me." However, the recordings proved otherwise. The court sentenced him to 100 years in prison for each of the three murder counts with 45 years suspended on each.