Suspect Kierre Williams charged with the murder of Fort Calhoun priest, Stephen Gutgsell

Mugshot of Kierre Williams
Kierre Williams faces a lengthy sentence if found guilty of killing Rev. Stephen Gutgsell. Pic credit: Washington County Sheriff’s Office

Prosecutors in Nebraska have charged Kierre Williams with the suspected murder of a priest, Rev. Stephen Gutgsell, in the rectory of his church in Fort Calhoun, a small town to the north of Omaha.

The police received a 911 call at about 5 a.m. on Sunday from the St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, where Gutgsell claimed a man was standing in his kitchen holding a knife.

The 911 operator then heard struggling and screaming.

Washington County deputies arrived at the scene a short time later to find the door had been forced open. They heard Gutgsell shouting from the rectory kitchen, “I’m here. Help me.”

The officers encountered a strange and gruesome scene. Gutgsell was lying on his back in a pool of blood, and Williams was allegedly lying on top of the priest at a perpendicular angle, forming a T shape with his back on his victim’s chest.

Gutgsell had suffered lacerations and was bleeding profusely. He passed away a short time later.

Police suspect Kierre Williams killed Father Stephen Gutgsell in a random attack

The cops later found a bloody knife lying in a pool of blood in Gutgsell’s bedroom. Williams did not have a weapon in his possession when the cops arrived.

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The police have not yet determined how the struggle occurred or what was the motive for the attack. However, Washington County Sheriff Mike Robinson said the attack was probably random.

Father Stephen Gutgsell profile pic
Father Stephen Gutgsell was stabbed to death in Fort Calhoun. Pic credit: Archdiocese of Omaha

In 2007, Gutgsell pleaded guilty to theft by deception after he embezzled thousands of dollars from the church. The police do not believe his murder was connected to this past crime.

The 65-year-old Gutgsell had worked as a priest in multiple parishes for over 30 years. His parishioners have expressed shock that anyone would cause him harm and said he will be “terribly missed.”

Suspect Kierre Williams charged with assault prior to Stephen Gutgsell murder

Williams is also looking at charges of use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony, burglary, and possession of a weapon by a prohibited person.

The suspect is from Sioux City, Iowa, and has a lengthy criminal record. He was recently charged with misdemeanor assault following an assault at a soup kitchen in Sioux City.

Fort Calhoun is a normally quiet town of about 1000 inhabitants, and murders are rare. However, this is the second homicide this year, which has shocked and unnerved the residents.

Sheriff Robinson said at a press conference, “I cannot explain or give a reason why this is occurring to Fort Calhoun.”

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