Arrest Made in Kathy Fortner Homicide Case
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - David James Norman, 44, has been arrested in connection to the murder of Kathy Fortner. Fortner, 49, was found dead outside of the west entrance to the Colorado National Monument on July 2. Norman, Fortner's boyfriend, has been charged with second degree murder, tampering with physical evidence and false reporting to authorities. NewsChannel 5 spoke with Fortner's mother, Judy Wilson, shortly after the Mesa County Sheriff's Office announced the arrest. Wilson said she is extremely grateful that local law enforcement was able to collect enough evidence to make an arrest so quickly, and for Norman to have been arrested specifically makes her relieved. Fortner's brother-in-law said this incident has dramatically impacted the family. "My wife called me at work, told me that they found [Kathy] and that she was dead. When I made it home from work, which is probably a good 30 minute drive, my wife was sitting on the kitchen floor just uncontrollably sobbing," said Mark Davis who is married to Fortner's sister Karen. Fortner moved from Mississippi to Grand Junction with Norman less than a year ago. "Everybody was concerned about her moving out there. Her and my wife spoke or texted each other at least three or four times a week," said Davis. When they didn't hear from Fortner after July 1, they began to worry. Around 8:00 a.m. on the day Fortner's body was discovered by a group of tourists at the Colorado National Monument, Norman called the Sheriff's Office to report her missing. When investigators met with Norman they noticed blood in the bed of his truck, that blood was later identified as belonging to Kathy Fortner. Investigators also combed through surveillance video from the Colorado National Monument. They said the video showed Norman and his truck driving through and pulling over near the area where Fortner was found. Video from a local car wash also shows footage of Norman washing his truck, paying "special attention to the truck bed." "We are very relieved that an arrest has been made and we're very appreciative of the job that the Mesa County Sheriff Department has done. We really thank them for all the hard work they put in," said Walt Trawick, the husband of Fortner's sister Angie. Norman had previously been on parole due to an assault resulting in serious bodily injury of a female Super 8 Motel clerk. An arrest for the violation of that parole took place a few hours after Fortner's body was discovered. Mesa County Coroner Dr. Havlik's report shows that Fortner died of multiple blunt force injuries, primarily to the head. The report explains there were at least five impacts and very likely even more than that. The coroner also noted that the extensive nature of the injuries are consistent with the use of a baseball bat, shovel, rock or another object with a blunt hard surface. The Mesa County District Attorney's Office tells NewsChannel 5 that a formal charges hearing for Norman could be as early as Sunday morning, or on Monday. Many of the family members told NewsChannel 5 they do plan on traveling to Grand Junction for the court case. "I'm sitting here thinking, she'll never get to sit with her sisters and laugh again, she'll never get to see her two daughters, Ashley and Britney, grow up or even hold her two grand children. It's impacted a lot of us," said Davis.