BOISE, Idaho — A Meridian woman is dead after police say her ex-boyfriend tortured, stabbed and beat her to death in a brutal attack this week.
Prosecutors say the body of 56-year-old Darla Fletcher was discovered by her son on Monday. She had been killed that day or the day before.
David Randall, 56, is charged with first-degree murder in Fletcher's death.
According to prosecutor John Dinger, Fletcher had ended her relationship with Randall about a month before, but had gone over to his home on Cambria Way in northwest Boise to get some possessions she had left behind.
Family members were worried about her interacting with Randall, prosecutors said, and their fears grew when Fletcher missed a planned holiday party, then failed to show up for work.
The victim's son went over to Randall's home Monday morning, and found the suspect standing outside. He asked where his mother was, according to prosecutors, but Randall responded that he did not know.
This altercation was witnessed by neighbor Christina Todd's husband. She told KTVB what her husband saw.
"It was around one o'clock, and he had witnessed I believe it was her son flying down the road," she said. "So he came down and witnessed a confrontation between him and the suspect in the front yard."
Fletcher's car was parked outside Randall's house, officials say. When the son again demanded to know where the victim was, Randall told him Fletcher was inside lying on the couch.
"They got very heated," Todd said. "My husband said he, the son ran into the house and came out screaming that she was dead."
Inside the house, according to prosecutors, the son found his mother lying dead in a room covered in blood. Randall's hands were also bloody, according to investigators.
"Again, when officers arrived they noticed the blood smeared all over the floor appeared to be dry," prosecutor Dinger said. "They found items that were used to murder her."
Prosecutors say Randall had killed Fletcher by stabbing her and hitting her in the head and face with a ceramic object.
Todd told KTVB she was at work at the time, but her husband was keeping her up to date as to what was happening.
"He said something crazy is going down at the house right now," she said. "'I believe our neighbor murdered his girlfriend,' is what he was saying."
The murder investigation, police presence, and crime scene tape surprised the neighbors, who all know each other and chat often.
"I was super scared, this is a super quiet little neighborhood like I love my little neighborhood," she said. "We do yearly neighborhood meet and greets here with each other, we've all had beers and food together."
In court, Dinger said there is also evidence that the victim was tortured before she died, prompting sobs from people in the courtroom gallery.
"It appears that he has been stalking her after their breakup," he said. "There had been many people worried about her safety in that prior month."
The judge ordered Randall to be held without bond in the case. He is due to appear in court again Dec. 30 for a preliminary hearing.
If convicted of first-degree murder, he will face up to life in prison or the death penalty. At this time, the prosecution hasn't determined if they will pursue the death penalty or not.
Fletcher worked as a cook at the Dry Creek Mercantile. Her coworkers issued a statement Wednesday expressing their sadness at the news of her death.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Darla and her family. We are all in shock and still processing this very tragic and disturbing news," the statement reads. "She was a sensitive, loving, joyful soul with a very kind spirit. We will miss her deeply."
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