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"I love them to death": Grandson charged with killing grandparents tells police

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"I love them to death": Grandson charged with killing grandparents tells police

By Craig Smith. CREATED Sep 11, 2013

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A grandson charged with killing his grandparents...two others charged along with him.
     
Now we know more of what investigators know in the murders of Erskin and Mary Louise Fulgham.
      
The investigative reports paint a picture of three people with a taste for drugs and violence, who had already victimized Erskin and Mary Louise Fulgham, before the three faced charges of killing them.

When Grandson Jeff Fulgham came to the house in late afternoon, he found Mary Louise Fulgham dead in a chair and Erskin Fulgham dead on the floor.  There was no sign anyone broke in.
      
He immediately told police he suspected another grandson, Kyle Drattlo.
      
Drattlo's mother Beth told police Kyle's drug problems made her cut ties with him.  She described him as hanging out with someone named Chris who had clown style tattoos on his face---the same sort of tattoos Chris Terry has.  Terry is charged along with Kyle Drattlo and Terry's girlfriend Brianna Harding.
      
"Chris got Kyle into drugs," she said. "He was controlling, like a 'Jim Jones'". 
       
Family members told police Mary Louise Fulgham let Kyle and his friends live at the house but money was missing and Erskin threw them out.
       
A neighbor told police she heard Kyle yelling at his grandmother about a week before the killing.  Mary Louise asked the neighbor to pray for Kyle, "...because he had been hanging out with the wrong person/crowd."
       
When deputies in Nevada stopped Kyle Drattlo, Chris Terry and Brianna Harding in the Fulgham's car, TPD detectives had their first chance to question them.
       
Chris Terry and his girlfriend Brianna Harding both tried to pin the murders on Drattlo.
       
Kyle Drattlo said Terry was the killer.  He said Terry stabbed Mary Louse Fulgham first.  Drattlo says Terry tried to suffocate Erskin Fulgham with a pillow, then stabbed him and stomped on his ribs. 
       
But listen to what Drattlo told police when the three still denied any role in the deaths: "Kyle said he left the front door open and he hoped his grandparents were okay."  "Kyle also said his grandparents gave him $150 and kissed him goodbye." Referring to his grandparents, he told police, I love them to death."

What detectives see on a suspect's hands can give them valuable clues and help sort out conflicting accusations.  Detectives noted just a laceration on Kyle Drattlo's hands while Chris Terry's knuckles were all scabbed over.

Craig Smith

Craig Smith

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Craig enjoys using innovative writing and visuals to make difficult stories easier to understand. As a newsroom manager at KGUN 9, Craig was part of the team that won three best newscast awards from Arizona Associated Press

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