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8/15/2012 6:00:00 AM
Death penalty sought for grisly murder of teen
Darrell Ketchner
Darrell Ketchner
Ariel Allison
Ariel Allison
Erin Taylor
Miner Staff Reporter

In dry and clinical detail Tuesday, Medical Examiner Rexene Worrell walked the court through each of a murdered 18-year-old's 10 stab wounds, all allegedly inflicted by a man prosecutors said should be executed.

Darrell Ketchner faces the death penalty if convicted of killing Ariel Allison and critically injuring her mother, Jennifer Allison, on the night of July 4, 2009.

Tuesday's testimony in Mohave Superior Court was part of a hearing that laid out some of the reasons the state is seeking the death penalty against the now 54-year-old Ketchner.

Jennifer Allison, 38, was Ketchner's on-again, off-again long-term girlfriend. She and Ketchner had three young children together. Jennifer also had two older daughters, including Ariel, who was on summer break from college and visiting when she was killed.

Defense attorney John Napper conceded the state's right to argue to a jury that Ketchner was on probation at the time of the offense and that the murder was committed during the commission of other crimes.

That leaves the state's argument that Ariel's injuries were cruel and caused a significant amount of pain and suffering.

Worrell said two of the stab wounds to Ariel Allison's chest would each have been fatal on their own. Allison also had three stab wounds to her back and a significant stab wound down the right side of her face.

Worrell said that one of the stab wounds to the chest severed Allison's pulmonary artery and would have led to unconsciousness in under a minute.

Police documents indicate officers arrived at the home in the 1800 block of Pacific Avenue within a minute of the first 911 call that came in at 10:48 p.m.

A Kingman Police officer who was one of the first on the scene testified at the hearing that Ariel was found laying on her back in the master bedroom of the home. Her eyes were open, although she stared straight ahead, and her lips were moving as though she was struggling to breathe, the officer said.

Another officer at the scene began resuscitation efforts. Ariel died during transport to the hospital.

A significant portion of testimony by another Kingman Police official focused on the timeline in the Allison home that night. Det. Dennis Gilbert said Jennifer and Ariel were in the kitchen area of the home when Ketchner forced his way though a side door into the kitchen, while another teenage daughter, her boyfriend and two young children were in a bedroom.

Gilbert said the teenage boyfriend was coming out of the bedroom when he saw Ketchner and Jennifer engaged in a struggle. The teen thought Ketchner was there for him in retaliation for an incident a couple months prior and ran out the front door.

The teenage daughter in the bedroom also heard the commotion and came out of the bedroom wielding a ladder from a bunk bed to protect her mom and older sister. Gilbert said the girl threw the ladder down the hall and ran back into the bedroom when the screams went from distressed to "abnormal." She then escaped with her two younger siblings through a bedroom window and hid in a neighbor's garage.

Gilbert said a significant amount of Ariel's blood was found in the kitchen and throughout the home.

"There was blood everywhere," he said. "On the walls, floors, door handles, everywhere."

Jennifer Allison was also stabbed during the struggle. She managed to crawl out the front door and down the driveway. Gilbert said neighbors told police they saw Ketchner come to the porch, then go back inside before returning with a gun. He then reportedly walked up to Jennifer and shot her once in the head.

The gun was a .357 revolver Jennifer kept for protection. There was speculation during the hearing as to whether Ariel went to the bedroom to try and retrieve the gun herself.

A question by Prosecutor Doug Camacho suggested that one of Ariel's fatal stab wounds could have been inflicted when Ketchner went into the bedroom for the gun, since Ariel would not have been able to get to the other side of the house with her injuries.

Ketchner was arrested the morning after the murder after officers found him passed out on the edge of the Cerbat Cliffs Golf Course.

He did not attend Tuesday's hearing. He opted out of attending non-substantive hearings several months after his arrest and is currently incarcerated at the Arizona State Prison in Florence, where he is serving 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to misconduct involving weapons from that night.

That move was intended to get Ketchner out of the Mohave County Jail, where he claimed to have been a target for mistreatment.

Jennifer Allison recovered from the gunshot wound to her head, although her family has been guarded about her condition since.

Tuesday's hearing was continued to Sept. 26 to allow for additional arguments by both sides.

ICT - Dr. Mohtaseb
Related Stories:
• Judge firm on Kingman murder suspect's trial date
• Prosecutor: Death penalty not bargaining chip for Kingman murder suspect
• County spends big on Kingman murder case
• Allison shot with her own .357
• Murder suspect returned to scene of prior crime

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, August 20, 2012
Article comment by: R R

Lisa, I think you mean Bill Starr

Posted: Monday, August 20, 2012
Article comment by: No One

Lisa I believe you mean Bill Starr

Posted: Monday, August 20, 2012
Article comment by: Nick Schmidt

Tragedies happen. The characters
of this on-and-off-affair couple were
somehow similar, otherwise she
(or he) would have left for good.
High emotional stress - I wonder what victim and culprit "learnt" from
their parents when their souls
were formed.

Posted: Sunday, August 19, 2012
Article comment by: Lisa Bennett

I still can't get over how Ken Starr was released. At least they take these murders seriously now-a-days. RIP

Posted: Saturday, August 18, 2012
Article comment by: Marla Kiriakidis

I hope this family is healing. Many in this town rushed to aid this family. Many worked to clean and repair her home so she would have a safe secure home to return to. When push comes to shove there are those that will do what's right.

Posted: Thursday, August 16, 2012
Article comment by: T M I

As good as it is to read the news, I personally feel this article went too far with details. My heart goes out to the familes, to have to re-live this tragic day, again.

Posted: Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Article comment by: Kingman Cares

Its very sad that this horrible tragedy is still being discussed in detail. My heart goes out to the children, family and friends who were touched by this tragedy.To know that younger and older siblings can read this article is very disturbing and heartbreaking.

Posted: Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Article comment by: Sad to Say

Sad to hear this and it brought tears to my eyes reading the gruesome details. Ariel was an amazing person and she should be remembered for that. I know that the family has been through a lot and this murder had an impact on the whole community. She will be missed and the State will find its justice.

Posted: Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Article comment by: too bad

So sad. In high school, Darrell had a good future to look forward to a good student, better than average athlete and good looks to boot. The future had a lot to offer but alas, drugs became the instrument of his destruction. If only the youth of this community and others could see the devastation that drugs cause.

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