Posted on December 14, 2023

Murder Suspect Kierre Williams ‘Laid Across Priest He Fatally Slashed in the Face to Form a Human Cross’

Bethan Sexton, Daily Mail, December 13, 2023

The suspect in the brutal murder of a Nebraska priest laid across his victim to form a ‘human cross’ after the fatal stabbing, according to court documents.

Kierre L. Williams, 43, is accused of killing Fr. Stephen Gutgsell in his rectory at St. John the Baptist in Fort Calhoun on Sunday.

When police arrived at the bloody scene, officers found Williams, of Sioux County, Iowa, lying perpendicularly across the clergyman in a cross shape, court filings claim.

Williams has since been charged with homicide and use of a weapon to commit a felony.

Police have not released a motive in the slaying, but both Gutgsell and Williams have had previous run-ins with the law.

Gutgsell was discovered with ‘a severe laceration to his face and was bleeding profusely,’ according to the affidavit filed Tuesday in Washington County court.

Williams was discovered lying on top of the priest with his back against his chest, the record states.

As police approached the two men, Williams was ordered to crawl away from Gutgsell to allow EMS workers to provide aid. The record states he complied but gave an ‘incoherent statement’ when asked if he was armed.

No weapon was immediately discovered, although Williams was covered in blood. Gutgsell was rushed to hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

Police later found a knife in the priest’s bedroom ‘next to a large pool of blood.’

Officers took Williams into custody, where they zip-tied his wrists and placed a bag over his hands to preserve the DNA evidence.

At one point, the suspect became aggressive, according to the documents and had to be placed in a restraint chair.

Cops are yet to release a motive in the murder and it is not known if the men knew each other.

The filings obtained by WOWT reveal William has previous convictions for cocaine possession and evading the law in Florida in 2008.

Gutgsell also had legal issues as he was arrested in 2007 for embezzling $125,000 from his Omaha congregation. Police ruled out that case was connected to his killing.

He reached a deal in the case that saw him sentenced to probation instead of 20 years in prison. He was also forced to pay $40,000 in restitution.

Gutgsell said through his lawyer at the time he was ‘deeply ashamed’ of his conduct.