Kristina Fetters Murders Aunt

Kristina Fetters was a fourteen year old from Iowa who would murder her Aunt during a robbery

According to court documents Kristina Fetters was being treated at a behavioral center and told fellow residents that she planned to rob her elderly aunt and murder her

Kristina Fetters would make her way to her Aunt’s home where she would fatally stab her Aunt multiple times after striking her in the head with a frying pan

Kristina Fetters would be arrested later that night and make a full confession to police. Ultimately she would be sentenced to life in prison without parole

In 2013 Kristina Fetters was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer and was later given a compassionate release. She would die eight months later in a hospice at the age of 34

Kristina Fetters Photos

kristina fetters

Kristina Fetters FAQ

When Did Kristina Fetters Die

Kristina Fetters would pass away on July 27 2014

Kristina Fetters Case

Two killers resided in the tiny frame of Kristina Fetters.

The first appeared Oct. 25, 1994, in a home in the unincorporated area of northern Polk County.

Driven by rage and the trauma of surviving rape, Fetters beat Arlene Louise Klehm, her 73-year-old great-aunt, with an iron skillet and stabbed her to death with kitchen knives. Fetters was sentence to life in prison without parole at age 15.

The second killer grew quietly inside Fetters. It was breast cancer. The disease took her life Sunday, her friend Jamie Ross told The Des Moines Register. She was 34.

Fetters’ family released a statement Sunday:

“Kristina Joy is finally able to feel peace, free of emotional and physical pain. Our God granted her an absolute forgiveness pardon and took his baby girl home this morning. Her mother was with her and it was what we have all prayed for, peaceful. … God bless all of you, and please embrace your life, don’t waste it.”

Fetters died in a Des Moines hospice, where she had resided since December 2013. The Iowa Parole Board granted her a compassionate release given the severity of her prognosis.

Hers was among the first Iowa sentences to be reconsidered after a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision struck down as unconstitutional sentencing juveniles to life without the possibility of parole.

Efforts to reach Klehm’s family were unsuccessful Sunday.

Arlene and Wayne Klehm were distant relatives of Fetters, but they served as grandparents. Fetters called Wayne Klehm, who died in August 1984 before his wife’s murder, “Uncle Sheenie.” Arlene was “Pooper.” She swung from bed sheets tied to a tree in the front yard of the white-sided, one-story house on Northeast 28th Street.

Fetters was closer to Wayne than Arlene, who had to dole out discipline and say “no” when Wayne would say yes.

Fetters met her biological father when she was 8, but the two never became close. The psychological trauma weighed on her as a youth, she told the Register in 1996.

“I want him in my life,” she said. “I need him in my life. I don’t think he knows what he wants.”

When she was 12, she met a 23-year-old man from Milwaukee. He wanted to be in the Black Gangster Disciples. She allegedly told the man she was 17. She ran away with him.

In June 1993, the man was arrested on kidnapping charges. He had held Fetters at gunpoint in his West Des Moines apartment, broke her nose and raped her.

After that, Fetters struggled. She skipped school. She ran away at least 13 times. Eventually, she was admitted to Orchard Place, an unlocked psychiatric home for troubled children on Des Moines’ south side.

She took medicine and sought solace in religion, but a Polk County Juvenile Court officer close to Fetters said she lived in a fantasy world most of the time.

In September 1994, a month after Wayne Klehm died, Arlene Klehm sent her grand-niece a handwritten letter trying to reconcile.

“Let’s be nice to each other and forgive me if I hurt you,” Arlene Klehm wrote.

Arlene Klehm and Fetters would not see each other again until Oct. 25, 1994. That was the night that little wisp of a girl, 14 years old at the time, 5 feet tall and just over 100 pounds, beat and stabbed her elderly great-aunt to death.

Fetters pleaded insanity at the trial, but a prosecution psychologist argued she carefully planned the killing. She was convicted and sent to prison without the possibility of parole.

Since Fetters’ conviction, brain research studies have shown that teenagers’ brains continue to develop into their early 20s. Psychologists believe young people’s maturity can be stunted by post-traumatic stress disorders resulting from abuse, neglect or other experiences.

The U.S. Supreme Court cited those studies when it ruled mandatory life in prison without parole for juveniles violated the constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishments.

Fetters had stage four breast cancer. She was released to a hospice in December. Polk County Attorney John Sarcone, a Democrat, and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, a Republican, agreed the release was humane, but that each juvenile offender affected by the Supreme Court ruling should be assessed individually.

During the first few months at the hospice, Kristina Fetters was able to communicate. Ross said she had questions about the outside world, and her family and friends let her play with their cellphones, eat lots of different kinds of food and watch many movies.

“It’s scary for those of us coming out of prison,” said Ross, who met Fetters while they were inmates at the Mitchellville prison. “For us it’s hard, but you’ve got to put in all the fear that everyone normally experiences and triple that, because she’s going to hospice and everyone knows what hospice is for.”

Kristina Fetters spent time with friends and family during her last few months. During her last three months, Fetters responded less. The hospice helped control her pain, but during the last few days, people knew Fetters was close to death, Ross said.

She wanted people to understand she was remorseful for killing her great-aunt, Ross said. Her family had forgiven her, and it wasn’t until recently Fetters was able to forgive herself.

“We know not everybody understands, and not everybody was accepting of her getting out,” Ross said, “but the God that we prayed to, the God that we worship is a loving and forgiving God, and we believe she has done what she needed to do to turn her life around.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top