The 75-year-old man found stabbed and beaten to death in a Casper home Jan. 8 may have survived if authorities had learned of his death earlier than they did, according to court testimony in a Thursday murder hearing.
George Kevin Dickerson is charged with attempted second-degree murder in the stabbing and beating of his mother-in-law Rose Dennis, 84, and with second-degree murder in the death of his stepfather-in-law Andy Martin, 75.
Dickerson is 61.
Each charge is punishable by between 20 years and life in prison.
Court documents state that both seniors were cognitively impaired and physically limited.
Dennis is alive but intubated, Tiffany Elhart, Casper Police Department detective testified during a Thursday preliminary hearing in Casper Circuit Court.
Martin died after bleeding out on his bedroom floor, Elhart related.
Judge Brian D. Christensen ruled after the hearing that he found probable cause to send Dickerson’s case to the Natrona County District Court for felony-level prosecution.
Both Dennis and Martin were found on the floor of their bedroom in a Casper home Jan. 8 after Dickerson reportedly called 911 dispatch and said he’d killed them with a knife, according to court testimony.
Dennis lay at Martin’s feet and Martin’s head rested on Dennis’ CPAP machine. Police found blood on the floor, walls, ceiling and on both victims, Elhart said.
Evidence in the case suggests the stabbings and beatings happened the night before. Martin was cold to the touch when police arrived, but police heard Dennis uttering distress moans, Elhart said, so they took her to a hospital.
Elhart was at Martin’s autopsy, where the forensic pathologist told her that Martin’s injuries “could have been survivable injuries” had he been discovered earlier.
Elhart noted the stab wounds to Martin’s neck and chest.
A puncture wound in the front of his neck in particular, “did not actually puncture or hit an artery or anything like that,” Elhart said. “It nicked a branching vein that came off the main artery.”
The result, the forensic pathologist reportedly told Elhart, was that as Martin breathed over the next few hours, blood pumped through that nick and he bled to death.
Dickerson called police to report the attacks, which he called a double homicide, at about 7 a.m. the morning of Jan. 8, court documents state.
He told police where he and his Suburban could be found in Casper. Police soon arrived and arrested him. They later found a bloody washcloth and pillow in his Suburban, Elhart testified.
Dickerson had reportedly told police that after the attacks, he went home and took a shower. There were roughly 11 hours between the suspected time of the attacks and Dickerson’s call to dispatch, documents and court testimony indicate.
Dennis’ injuries were critical, hospital staff informed Casper police when the victim was taken to care.
She had stab wounds and blunt-force beating injuries, Elhart related, adding that Dennis’ most severe injury was a cavity under her skin, stretching from her lip to her eye socket.
The cavity was so large the doctor could fit his finger into it, Elhart related. It also led to an “orbital blowout” of her eye socket and a resultant brain bleed, the detective said.
But the doctors reportedly told police they couldn’t tell if the cavity was from a stabbing or a beating impact.
The shoes police believed Dickerson had been wearing were found in a dumpster at a church where his wife works, hours after Dickerson turned himself in.
Police found Merrill shoes with a cross tread pattern on their undersides along with other bloody clothes in a garbage bag that had been in the dumpster, Elhart said.
The same cross tread pattern was found on Dennis’ face, which was bloody, according to Elhart’s testimony. Police also found a bloody tread pattern in Dennis’ home.
The right shoe appeared bloodier than the left from the prints, Elhart said. The prints suggested that whoever was wearing the shoes had walked through the house to the front door, then turned and walked back into the house’s common areas.
The shoe print on Dennis’ face, Elhart said, “made us question (whether) Rose (was) perhaps kicked by George.”
Dennis was naked when authorities found her; Martin was wearing only underwear.
Abusing Health Care Workers
Dickerson in a recorded 911 call that played as evidence in the court hearing could be heard saying he confronted “Andy” about abusing Rose Dennis’ health care workers.
“He came at me and I just lost it,” Dickerson said on the recording. “And Rose jumped on me and I knocked her up against the wall and it just went from there.”
The dispatcher asked Dickerson if he used any weapons.
“Um, a kitchen knife,” Dickerson answered.
Family members later told police that Martin, who had an acquired brain injury, verbally abused in-home health care workers to the point that they did not want to work in the home.
Martin had reportedly thrown a shoe at the health care workers and threatened to hurt them, but there were no instances of physical harm, according to Elhart’s version of the family’s statements.
Dickerson’s prosecution is ongoing. His bond remains at $600,000 cash-only, though his defense attorney argued to have it lowered to $300,000.
Natrona County Attorney Dan Itzen argued in the hearing that the higher bond should stay, partly in light of Dickerson’s having been charged in 2011 with domestic violence against his wife.
Dickerson also has a history of alcohol-related violations, but his defense attorney said that violent charges generally are out of character for him.