Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Saturday, July 4, 2015


            Let us not forget 19-year-old Ariel Allison who was murdered by Darrell Bryant Ketchner on the 2009 Independence Day in Kingman, Arizona. We will also remember her on her birthday on July 25 every year. Let us support her loved ones.

Ariel Allison

7/7/2009 6:00:00 AM
Murder suspect returned to scene of prior crime
Ketchner, accused of trashing car on Pacific Avenue in April, jailed for deadly July 4 attack

Flowers and crime scene tape mark the home where a mother was attacked and her 18-year-old daughter killed Saturday. Police said 51-year-old Darrell Bryant Ketchner entered the home around 10:45 p.m. and began attacking the victims while they sat at a dining room table.
KINGMAN - The man charged with attacking a woman and killing her daughter on the Fourth of July was arrested earlier this year for an incident at the same address where the murders occurred.

Jennifer Allison, 35, was listed in guarded condition in the intensive care unit of a Las Vegas hospital Monday afternoon. Allison suffered multiple stab wounds and a gunshot wound to the back of the head and was found unresponsive in her driveway in the 1800 block of Pacific Avenue shortly before 11 p.m. Saturday. Allison's daughter, 18-year-old Ariel Allison, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Darrell Bryant Ketchner, 51, was arrested in connection with the attack by Kingman Police at the Cerbat Cliffs Golf Course Sunday morning.

Police allege Ketchner broke into the Allison home through a side door Saturday around 10:45 p.m. and surprised the victims, who were seated at the dining room table. Sgt. Bob Fisk, public information officer with the Kingman Police Department, said four other people were in the house at the time of the attack. Jennifer Allison was stabbed several times and had made it out the front door to call for help when she was shot. Police found Ariel Allison in a bedroom.

Jennifer Allison had a restraining order barring Ketchner from the property. Ketchner was arrested in April on suspicion that he broke out several car windows in front of the Allison home. Police said they don't have a motive for Saturday's attack.

According to several people who know the family, Ketchner is the father of Jennifer Allison's three youngest children, who range in age from 10 to 2. A child's stroller was outside the residence Monday where police tape still surrounded the scene.

Ariel Allison attended school in Prescott and was spending the summer in Kingman working at the Sonic Drive-In at Keno Avenue and Stockton Hill Road before transferring to Las Vegas in the fall to become a dental hygienist, according to her boss. She had worked off-and-on at Sonic for close to two years, said Manager Crystal Gudel.

"She was very outgoing, very bubbly," Gudel said, "like the sweetest person you ever met. It's just a tragedy. She didn't even get to live her life."

Ketchner's criminal record spans at least 30 years. He spent five days in a Maricopa County jail when he was 19 on misdemeanor counts of obstruction of justice and a reduced charge of driving while intoxicated.

In 1999, Ketchner was arrested along with his father, Wayne Bryant Ketchner, after the pair took delivery of 50 pounds of marijuana from undercover officers. The eldest Ketchner pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess marijuana for sale.

Darrell Ketchner was also arrested for a variety of offenses in 2008, including misconduct involving weapons and assault by domestic violence.

Police found a pistol on Ketchner when he was arrested. He is being held without bail at the Mohave County Jail.

Friends of the Allison family are collecting money to help clean the home where the murder occurred. An account has been set up at Mission Bank under account number 150012987.

Darrell Bryant Ketchner

3/13/2013 6:00:00 AM
'She had a plan for life'
Testimony turns to impact as penalty phase begins

Doug McMurdo
Miner Staff Reporter

Ariel Allison
KINGMAN - Jurors who hold in their hands the fate of convicted murderer Darrell Bryant Ketchner heard how the July 4, 2009 killing of Ariel Allison has affected her family.

"The night Darrell Ketchner murdered my daughter, he destroyed us," said Jennifer Allison, Ariel's mother and Ketchner's former girlfriend.

On that Independence Day, Ketchner showed up at the Allison home on Pacific Avenue in Kingman. He stabbed Ariel Allison eight times, according to testimony, and stabbed and shot her mother in the back of the head.

Ariel was on summer break from college and 21 days shy of her 19th birthday the night she died.

Jennifer Allison, still suffering the lingering effects of her injuries, testified she was 15 years old when she became pregnant with Ariel.

"I was 16 when I had her," she said. "I made a choice to have her and I married her father a year later."

Shawn Allison would die in a car crash when Ariel was 4 years old, her little sister was 2 and her mom was 20.

"It was just the three of us girls after that," she said. "Ariel grew up to be a beautiful young lady. She did gymnastics. She was outgoing and she had a million friends.

"She turned out to be a better person than I ever could have imagined."

Jennifer Allison said Ariel was the leader of the family and the glue that held it together.

Ariel's grandfather, Bob Allison, spoke as a slideshow of photographs played on two television screens in the courtroom of Superior Court Judge Rick Williams.

The slideshow included photos of Ariel as a toddler, as a preteen with braces, a high school cheerleader and on her graduation day. There was another one taken at a Kingman park hours before she was murdered.

Bob Allison told about filling in for Shawn whenever Ariel needed a father. In first grade she invited him to a father and daughter breakfast at school.

"She had a plan for life,"
said Bob Allison. "A real plan. She worked at Sonic and took all the hours she could get. She never forgot to call us on the holidays and our birthdays."

In 2005, when she was 15, Ariel left her mother's home to live with her grandparents. Ketchner had just been released from prison on drug charges and moved in with Jennifer. The two have children in common, but Ariel didn't want to be there.

"She was a neat and organized person," he said. "Her room looked like she was expecting company."

Bob Allison and his wife were in Kingman the day Ariel died and Jennifer was grievously wounded.

At the park, they sat where they normally did during the fireworks show.

There was a lot of tension, he said, and they were glad the police trailer was parked near them. Ketchner had a protective order against him and had threatened to murder Jennifer Allison and all of her children.

He partially made good on those threats.

"That was the last time I saw Ariel alive," said Bob Allison, his voice catching in his throat.

"Our daughter saw the news on Facebook. She said there's been a shooting and we heard Jennifer and Ariel were at the hospital."

Bob Allison said when he saw all the blood in the driveway he knew no good news would be heard when they got to the hospital.

Earlier in the day, defense attorney John Napper told jurors that Ketchner, the son of a prominent optometrist who served on political boards in Kingman, lived in a "hellhole" with an abusive father who repeatedly beat his wife in front of their four children.

He spoke of one incident in particular. According to Napper, Wayne Ketchner couldn't get his wife to stop bleeding after a beating and put her in an ice-filled bathtub.

Eventually, the wife would take two daughters and go back home to Oregon, but she left Ketchner with his father.

"Wayne Ketchner was a hateful, mean, son of a bitch," Napper said to jurors.

Napper said his client lived with a lot of anger and spent his life in and out of prison, but he also said Ketchner was not the "worst of the worst" offenders.

Prosecutor Megan McCoy painted a different picture.
"Sure, the defendant didn't have a great childhood. He wants you to blame his dad," she said.

"He chose his path. This is a man who at 51 (years old) murdered an 18-year-old. He had lots of choices between childhood and 51. He's the father of adult children ... no mitigation can lessen his moral culpability.

"The death penalty is the appropriate penalty. Darrell Ketchner has earned it."

Testimony in the penalty phase of Ketchner's trial continues today. He faces the possibility of death by execution or life in prison.


Analysis: Family drama plays out in Kingman courtroom

3/24/2013 6:00:00 AM
By Doug McMurdo

Ariel Allison
KINGMAN - Murder trials are dramatic affairs. When the defendant faces the death penalty, the drama increases tenfold.

When the defendant is tied to his victims not by blood, but by an abiding history, and the courtroom gallery is filled with spectators who are also bound to the defendant and his victims, the drama takes on a strange, emotionally charged and sorrowful dynamic.

When Darrell Ray Ketchner brutally murdered Ariel Allison and very nearly killed her mother Jennifer Allison on the night of July 4, 2009, he damaged the lives of everyone he ever cared about and everyone who ever cared about him.

Darrell Ketchner took Ariel Allison's life. The wounds he inflicted on Jennifer Allison will plague her for the rest of her days.

His cruel violence did not, however, tear apart his two families. A long-ago affair brought them together. Love, compassion and dignity in the face of a horrific crime have kept them that way.

Ariel Allison's grandparents, Bob and Arlene Allison, and her aunt, Jeanene Allison-Reiland, have sat in the front row throughout the trial.

The late Shawn Allison was Ariel's father. He died in a car crash nearly 20 years ago and left Jennifer with two young children. His parents have played a major role in the lives of their grandchildren and, by extension, the lives of everyone in both families.

Ketchner's daughters, Ashley and Ariel, sat with their mother, but there was a stunning lack of tension in the courtroom.

At one point during testimony, Ashley Ketchner was comforted by Allison-Rieland. Bob and Arlene Allison refuse to say anything negative about the man who murdered their granddaughter. They have taken the high road out of faith and sensitivity to Ketchner's relatives.

Indeed, the two families have been achingly kind to each other, and for good reason: They've all known one another for the better part of two decades. Even the attorneys, prosecutor Megan McCoy and defense attorneys John Napper and David Shapiro, have been gracious with both sides in and out of the presence of Judge Rick Williams and the jury.

To be clear: McCoy is using every legal tool at her disposal to convince jurors Ketchner deserves the death penalty. Napper and Shapiro have done everything in their power to save his life.

While nobody can explain why this tragic chain of events occurred in the first place, it's important to understand how it began.

Widowed at 20, Jennifer Allison and her two daughters lived across the street from the Ketchner family: Darrell, Debbie, Ashley, Ally and Ariel.

The children played together. A tree house in the Allison backyard is a fond memory for them.

Ariel Allison and Ariel Ketchner-Harkness shared more than a first name. The two girls were the same age. They went to the same schools. They played together and grew close.

A few years later, when Darrell Ketchner and Jennifer Allison began their affair and Jennifer became pregnant with the first of three children they would have in common, things became tense between the families, particularly for Ashley Ketchner.

She is the oldest of Ketchner's daughters and a girl who was old enough to know her mother's heart was broken and Darrell Ketchner and Jennifer Allison broke it.

She was angry with both of them for a few years, until she was seriously injured in a car crash at 16 and learned how precious life is and how harmful holding grudges can be.

But the two Ariels were not fazed by the affair or its impact on the two families. They were 7 years old. They were best friends who were lucky enough to become sisters.

Debbie Ketchner, Darrell Ketchner's high school sweetheart and a woman who stood by her troubled man through thick and thin for more than 20 years, handled the betrayal with class, according to her daughters. The Allison children were welcome at her home.

Ketchner-Harkness grew close to Jennifer, especially when her father was in prison - a place he has lived for 15 out of the last 21 years.

Married to a soldier who is about to be deployed to Afghanistan, Ketchner-Harkness, 22, broke down when testifying about her relationship with Jennifer and Ariel Allison.

She was there to ask the jury to spare her father's life, but Ketchner-Harkness clearly struggles with what her father did that night. Like her sister Ashley, Ketchner-Harkness never thought she would ask a jury to keep him off of death row.

When asked if the killing of Ariel Allison and maiming of Jennifer Allison made her angry, Ketchner-Harkness appeared taken aback by the question.

"I was bitterly angry,"
she said through tears. "I never thought I'd be here today. He took Ariel's life. He ruined Jennifer's life. He ruined his kids' lives. Why wouldn't I be angry?"

Ketchner-Harkness said she ultimately had to let the anger go, and she did so for compelling reasons.

Neither Ketchner-Harkness nor Ashley Ketchner visited their father in jail for a year after the incident.

"I had to forgive him for what he did,"
Ketchner-Harkness said. "We already lost so much. I missed talking to him. I missed his jokes. Just because he did this and the way he did this does not make him a monster."

But Ketchner-Harkness had another reason to forgive her father, one that can only be seen as a healthy choice. She didn't want to bring that kind of baggage into a marriage.

"I wanted closure before starting life," she said. "I know he loved Ariel and Jennifer and he's sorry for what he's done."

Ketchner addressed members of both families on Thursday, just before closing arguments began. He didn't ask for mercy. He didn't ask for forgiveness. He simply told them he was remorseful for all he took from them.

While the murder trial of Darrell Ketchner has been full of epic drama and tragedy, the blended family has shown how strong bonds keep families tied together through the worst of times.

Instead of letting Darrell Ketchner's merciless and barbaric act tear them apart, they have allowed their horrible losses to strengthen them.

Now, it's time for a jury to decide his fate. Deliberations begin Monday. The jury has two choices, life without the possibility of parole or death by execution.

Whatever jurors decide, Darrell Ketchner's two families will survive.

INTERNET SOURCE: http://kdminer.com/m/Articles.aspx?ArticleID=55576               

Ketchner gets death penalty for 2009 murder

3/26/2013 6:00:00 AM
By Doug McMurdo

Darrell Bryant Ketchner
KINGMAN - A Mohave County jury on Monday condemned convicted killer Darrell Ketchner to death.

Jurors deliberated roughly four hours before returning their verdict. The same jury on March 7 spent 45 minutes deliberating whether Ketchner was guilty of first-degree murder in the July 4, 2009 fatal stabbing of 18-year-old Ariel Allison, the shooting and stabbing of Ariel's mother, Jennifer Allison, and two counts of aggravated assault.

Ketchner and Jennifer Allison were together for more than 14 years. They have three children together and several more from prior relationships.

Ketchner appeared nervous before the verdict was read in Superior Court Judge Rick Williams' courtroom. At one point he turned and smiled at one of his daughters, who cried while her husband comforted her.

Ketchner sat emotionless when the verdict was announced and then he was quickly removed from the courtroom.

Williams set a formal sentencing hearing for April 29.

For Jennifer Allison, the verdict brings to an end a nearly four-year ordeal.

"This is just surreal," she said. "I can't believe it. The man I was with for so many years, whom I have three kids with ... I'm in shock.

"But it's a good shock. It's great and it's what he deserves."

Jennifer Allison said she doesn't talk about Ketchner to their two youngest children, a boy and a girl ages 5 and 6. They also are parents to a 14-year-old girl.

"I won't tell my (younger) kids anything about this," Jennifer Allison said. "They don't remember him."

Jennifer Allison's wounds remain evident. She can't use her left arm. She's blind in one eye and she said her sense of smell is gone forever.

She also suffers from memory loss and emotional issues.

Still, she believes God spared her life that night.

The bullet that struck her was a hollow point, she said, and the shot should have killed her.

"It's a miracle," she said. "I should be dead. I truly believe this was divine intervention so I could raise my children."

Still, the knowledge the verdict will do nothing to fill the hole left by Ariel Allison's death was not far from anyone's mind.

"I don't know what I was looking for," said Jeanene Allison-Reiland, Ariel Allison's aunt, following the verdict. "Just closure."

Closure has proved elusive.

"I really don't think there was any happy ending to this story," she said. "We still don't have Ariel."

Prosecutor Megan McCoy said the jury returned the correct verdict.

"I believe Darrell Ketchner deserved to be subject to the process," she said. "The jury's verdict reflects the very serious actions that he took."

On July 4, 2009, Ketchner - who had ordered by the court to stay away from Jennifer Allison's Pacific Avenue home after a series of escalating events - stabbed Ariel Allison eight times, killing her.

He then chased down Jennifer Allison before stabbing and shooting her in the back of the head.

Defense attorney John Napper declined to comment, saying he and his team needed a couple of days to process the verdict.

When Williams sentences Ketchner April 29, he will become the 121st man to sit on death row at Arizona State Prison in Florence.

There are three women in the state on death row.

Mohave County to retry death penalty case

By Doug McMurdo
Kingman Daily Miner | Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2015 10:36 am 

Ariel Allison
KINGMAN - Every person deserves his or her day in court. 

Some of them get more than one.

More than two months after the Arizona Supreme Court overturned the murder conviction - and subsequent death penalty - of Darrell Bryant Ketchner, 57, the Mohave County Attorney's office has decided to retry the case. They have done so despite the fact Ketchner will still remain in prison for the rest of his natural life due to convictions that were not reversed and add up to a 75-year term.

But that time would not be served on death row, where Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith firmly believes Ketchner should be.

On July 4, 2009, a raging Ketchner violated a restraining order and barged into the Pacific Avenue home of his estranged girlfriend, Jennifer Allison. 

There, he stabbed Allison's 18-year-old daughter Ariel Allison eight times, killing her. He also stabbed and shot Jennifer Allison in the head. Jennifer survived after a lengthy convalescence, which left her with no memories of that night.

Ketchner was found passed out on the Cerbat Cliffs Golf Course the next day. He had the handgun he used to shoot Jennifer Allison - it was hers - pornographic movies, sex toys, zip ties and medications in his possession.

Prosecutor Megan McCoy prosecuted Ketchner in a trial filled with drama and heartbreak. 

Defense attorneys David Shapiro and John Napper never challenged the state's contention that Ketchner killed Ariel Allison and grievously injured her mother. Instead, they argued Ketchner did not intend to kill and maim that night. 

Premeditation is a key component of a first-degree murder conviction, but the jury was not unanimous in that aspect of deliberations. 

Still, they found three other aggravating factors did exist, and that was sufficient for all 12 jurors to hand down the death penalty.

They also found Ketchner guilty of attempted first-degree attempted murder, first-degree burglary and three counts of aggravated assault.

Why was it overturned?

The testimony of a single witness, Dr. Kathleen Ferraro, was sufficient for the Supreme Court to reverse the murder and burglary convictions, but the remaining convictions were upheld. 

The high court reversed the murder and burglary convictions because justices believe Ferraro's testimony focused on "domestic violence patterns and the general characteristics exhibited by domestic violence victims and abusers," according to the Supreme Court opinion.

Napper objected to Ferraro testifying during the trial, arguing she would impermissibly create a profile that would unduly sway jurors. The issue was raised on appeal, and the high court agreed with Napper's argument that allowing Ferraro to testify was an abuse of discretion.

Ferraro also testified to separation assault. Jennifer Allison had requested and been granted no less than three protective orders against Ketchner, and one was in effect the night he went to her Pacific Avenue home and killed her eldest daughter and tried to kill her.

Ferraro said abusers are very dangerous when the victim attempts to end the relationship and they use violence to regain control.

Mohave County attorneys disputed the contention that Ferraro offered profile evidence, arguing that Ferraro was called to testify not to show Ketchner fit the profile of a domestic violence abuser profile, but to show the relationship between the two was typical of abusive relationships.

What now?

Chief Deputy County Attorney Jace Zack said the case will begin as if it were on the eve of trial.

While Zack has been advised Napper and Shapiro will again represent Ketchner, Napper is now the Yavapai County Public Defender and by law cannot retry the case. Whoever represents him, taxpayers will pay the bill.

According to the Arizona Department of Corrections, Ketchner remains on death row despite the Supreme Court's reversal of his first-degree murder conviction.

Whether he will be transferred to the Mohave County jail to await trial is up to the defense, said Zack. The issue will be decided based on which location would make it easier for them to communicate with Ketchner - here rather than at the Browning Unit, where death row is, in Florence.

State law calls for such cases to be retried within 90 days from the Supreme Court's decision, but Zack said capital cases "always take longer."

The Grave of Ariel Jade Allison

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