Youth Pastor Who Murdered Family on Thanksgiving Sentenced to 58 Years in Prison August 17, 2018

Youth Pastor Who Murdered Family on Thanksgiving Sentenced to 58 Years in Prison

On Thanksgiving night, two women and one man were found dead inside a home in Chester, Virginia. The lone suspect, who was apprehended at the scene, was 58-year-old Christopher Gattis. He allegedly killed his wife, daughter, and daughter’s boyfriend in some sort of domestic dispute.

Now, Gattis, who served as youth pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, has been sentenced to 58 years in prison.


In a plea agreement that came together unexpectedly in recent weeks, Christopher R. Gattis, 59, pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree murder and one count of felony use of a firearm in the Nov. 23 killings of his wife, Jeanett L. Gattis, 58, his stepdaughter, Candice L. Kunze, 30, and her boyfriend, Andrew Buthorn, 36, of Olympia, Wash., who was celebrating Thanksgiving with the family.

In accordance with the agreement, Chesterfield Circuit Judge David E. Johnson accepted Gattis’ pleas and sentenced him to 100 years in prison for each of the three murder counts with 45 years suspended on each. The three, 55-year terms will be served concurrently. Gattis was sentenced to an additional three years for using a firearm in the killings.

It’s effectively a life sentence since there’s no chance for parole for felonies in Virginia. The details of the crime are far more disturbing than¿ any summary, but defense attorney John Rockecharlie said Gattis hoped to turn things around behind bars:

… Rockecharlie told the court that Gattis hopes to minister to fellow inmates, “and hopefully atone for what he did.”

“Hopefully” being the key word. If a youth minister’s anger got the best of him to the point where he pulled out a gun and shot his family members, maybe it’s a hint that Jesus isn’t the solution to anyone’s problems. That’s not to say he won’t feel genuine remorse, but he’s a long way away from having the credibility to minister to anyone.

(Thanks to @williamwarren00 for the link. Portions of this article were posted earlier)

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