crimesider

Loveland Dad Killed Man Serving Divorce Papers

(CBS/AP) A Loveland man accused of beating to death a process server and then attacking his own two children in May 2008 has been found guilty on all counts.

A Larimer County District Court jury late Monday afternoon convicted James Whitler, 46, of first-degree murder in the death of Stephen Allen, 57.

Jurors also found Whitler guilty of two counts of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of child abuse and two counts of reckless endangerment. They began deliberating Friday.

"The family got justice and maybe the beginning to some closure," said Allen's brother, Scott Allen, who was in the crowded courtroom when the verdict was read. "It's time to move on."

Stephen Allen's niece, Jen Castaneda, added, "Our uncle is celebrating today as we are. We're just grateful that justice has been served."

Whitler was accused of beating Allen to death with a baseball bat on May 28, 2008, after Allen went to his home to serve him with divorce papers and a restraining order taken out by Whitler's now ex-wife. Whitler then attacked his two children, choking them both into unconsciousness and stabbing his daughter before sheriff's deputies pulled him away, authorities said.

Whitler's attorney Eric Vanatta argued that his client's actions were not premeditated and that he snapped amid a "hurricane of emotions."

Prosecutors said Whitler had plenty to time to think about what he was doing.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 8.
  • Neil Katz

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