Man Suspected of Killing Mother Pleads Not Guilty - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Man Suspected of Killing Mother Pleads Not Guilty

Posted: Updated:
The man suspected of beating his mother to death with a metal pipe and stealing property from her home pleaded not guilty to the charges.

John Nicholas Gunther, 28, is suspected of killing Dixie Lee Larson on Dec. 21 or Dec. 22 in her Alpine mobile home at the Wood Creek Estates at 15935 Spring Oaks Road.

Gunther was arrested Sunday at an El Cajon motel, hours after Larson's body was found by deputies checking on her welfare.

Katherine Elizabeth Petersen, who was with Gunther at the motel, is charged with receiving stolen property. The length and nature of the relationship between Gunther and the 19-year-old Petersen is still being investigated, said Deputy District Attorney John Philpott.

"When she was arrested by police, she had a ring that belonged to the victim in her possession," the prosecutor said.

There were other pieces of property in the motel room that were believed to have come from the mobile home, including a large amount of cash, Philpott said. People who knew Gunther said it was rare for him to carry so much money, the prosecutor said.

"There are witnesses who have come forward and said he (Gunther) had mentioned before he wanted to kill his mother," Philpott said.

Relatives contacted law enforcement when they hadn't heard from from the 57-year-old victim for several days.

According to broadcast reports, Larson told neighbors she was afraid of her son because he abused drugs.

Philpott said neither defendant has a significant criminal record.

Petersen, a teacher's assistant at a preschool, does not face a murder count, but "at minimum she knew of the murder after it happened and didn't report it," the prosecutor said.

Judge Charles Ervin set her bail at $75,000, while Gunther's bail was set at $3 million.

A readiness conference was scheduled for Jan. 8 and a preliminary hearing for Jan. 14.

Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 KFMB-TV. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.