Youth pastor Christopher Gattis lived happily with his wife Jeanette, until her daughter from a previous relationship, Candice L. Kunze (30) and her boyfriend, Andrew Buthorn (36) came to stay at the home.
Christopher was under the impression that his step daughter and her boyfriend were only going to be staying for a couple days. However, they actually planned to stay for a couple weeks until they left for Arizona regarding their work.
Two days before the murders, Christopher was heavily drinking to cope with his hostility. Apparently someone spilled wine which triggered a drunk Christopher to start an argument. He shoved his wife, Jeanette, and swung his arm back as if he was going to hit her, but luckily her adult nephew was over for the night and intervened in the fight. After the altercation, Jeanette gave her nephew Christopher’s gun and said ‘I’m scared he’s going to use this.” However, he had plenty of other firearms in the bedroom.
The tension lingered for 48 hours and spilled over into Thanksgiving Day. At 6:00pm, Candice and Andrew were relaxing in the hot tub when Christopher confronted them once again. A surveillance camera in the backyard captured him demanding them to leave while shaking his finger. Jeanette inserted herself in the argument to defend her daughter while recording it on her phone.
At 11:15pm that night, Jeanette, Candice, and Andrew were playing a board game in the kitchen. Meanwhile, Christopher was elaborately setting up his future crime to make it look like self defense.
He texted Jeanette’s phone a multitude of text messages to make it seem as if he was being threatened. However in reality, the family was occupied playing the game. Some texts said:
“Please please stop threatening me I am so scared. Please leave me alone. I am in fear of my life. I feel you want to kill me. Please let me live.”
“I just want to live. Please please o”
“Stop telling me you want to kill me”
“Please don’t come in my room to hurt me”
After arming himself with his Taurus .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol, he headed downstairs to make his point clear one last time. Without saying a word or any warning, he shot and killed Jeanette. During this time, Candice’s phone seemed to be recording the incident which meant the the horrific audio of the crime was all documented.
Before Candice could run, he shot and killed her as well.
The footage from the phone then showed Andrew cowering behind a table and begging for his life after watching his wife and mother in law be murdered. “I will go out. I will leave,” he pleaded. In his attempt to bolt for the door, Christopher shot him three times and killed him.
The gun contained 11 bullets, but by the end of the shooting, the gun was empty.
Christopher later told police that the reason he killed his family is because “they all ganged up” and were threatening him. However, the surveillance footage in the backyard, Jeanette’s phone footage, and Candice’s recording all painted a different picture that ultimately resulted in three counts of first degree murder pinned on him.
When the officer asked how many people he shot, he answered with three, followed by, “They’re probably all dead.”
He was sentenced to 58 years in prison.