KINGMAN – Darrell Ketchner has spent months facing charges in various Mohave County courtrooms over time, and various convictions have him currently serving time in the Arizona Department of Corrections until 2053. And now Ketchner will die in prison, barring dramatic developments, following new convictions in a retrial for the brutal stabbing death of Ariel Allison, 18, more than 13 years ago.
Ketchner, 64, Kingman, is currently serving a decades-long sentence for 2013 trial convictions involving attempted murder, aggravated assault, and firearms offenses for an attack upon Ariel’s mother Jennifer Allison. The conviction and sentence for Ariel’s death in the same first trial were overturned on appeal, so Ketchner underwent a second, two-week re-trial for the murder of the teen.
A Mohave County Superior Court jury deliberated for about six hours Wednesday, August 10, before finding Ketchner guilty of burglary for breaking into the Allison home on Pacific Avenue in Kingman, less than two hours after the community 4th of July fireworks show in 2009. And he was convicted of the murder of Ariel, who suffered eight stab wounds.
Ketchner testified extensively at his trial, telling jurors Jennifer invited him over for romance and that she opened the door when he knocked. Ketchner claimed Jennifer charged him with a knife and was stabbed in the ensuing struggle and that he accidentally stabbed Ariel, believing her to be another party and a threat when a severely wounded Jennifer shouted, “shoot him, shoot him.”
Prosecutor James Schoppmann argued that Jennifer never shouted “shoot him” and that Ketchner crafted an unbelievably ridiculous and self-serving story in an attempt to explain the bloodshed that nearly killed both Allisons. The chief deputy county attorney told the jury that Ketchner was wearing gloves on a hot July night and burst into the home with a knife intending violence, enraged that he could no longer control Jennifer, his off-and-on-again girlfriend, and mother of their three children.
Ketchner testified that Jennifer’s alleged attack upon him was the byproduct of post-partum depression. He told jurors he shot Jennifer (who survived) in the head after the stabbings because he was upset that she put himself and Ariel in danger.
Sentencing for the new convictions is scheduled September 14 before Mohave County Superior Court Judge Rick Williams.