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Homeless Kirby man arrested in death of host

6-20-2013 Texas:

Stephen Knutson was known for his generosity toward homeless people, but it was that kindness that also apparently led to his violent slaying earlier this month.

Knutson, 67 and a registered sex offender, met Levi Anderson Bonds at a church in Kirby and invited the homeless 35-year-old to stay with him in his trailer in the 5500 block of FM 78.

Less than a week later, as the two were watching a San Antonio Spurs-Miami Heat game, Bonds reportedly broke Knutson's neck and stabbed him multiple times before leaving him dead and nude in his bloody bed. According to Kirby police, Bonds then took Knutson's TV, his car and credit cards, which he used to fund a week-long spending spree.

Bonds was arrested Wednesday on one count of capital murder in connection with the death of Knutson. A judge set bail at $1 million.

“He was a wonderful guy, and he was committed to the work,” said Alamo United Methodist Church Pastor George Chambers. “He just always tried to help people. He had a rough life and a lot of problems earlier, and he was just trying to do what's right.”

Last week, a friend of Knutson's called police and asked them to check on Knutson, whom they hadn't seen for several days. At the trailer, officers saw a swarm of flies and smelled something foul. Fearing someone was injured inside, police broke into the trailer and found Knutson's decomposing body.

“A noticeable amount of blood was also present on the pillows, bed and carpet in the room as well,” according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

A couple of days later, police found Knutson's stolen car. The Texas Rangers got involved in the case and contacted the victim's banks, who had flagged several transactions they considered to be suspicious at Wal-Mart, Best Buy and numerous gas stations, the affidavit states.

Then, police said, Bonds' girlfriend and the mother of two of his children contacted officers and said she had information on Knutson's death. She had kicked Bonds out of her home in May, the affidavit states, but the two remained in contact. Earlier this month, he told her he was going to stay with a friend he'd met through church named “Steve.”

After Knutson's death, Bonds reportedly visited his girlfriend and told her he had “blacked out” and “snapped,” after Knutson caressed his hand, the affidavit states. He told his girlfriend that “the next thing (he) realized was that 'Steve' was beaten badly and 'blood was everywhere,'” according to the affidavit.

In the next days, the couple purchased diapers, beer, laptops and hotel rooms using the credit cards. The laptops, along with a TV taken from Knutson's home, were pawned for cash.

Kirby police Sgt. Michael Alonzo said the investigation is ongoing, and charges against the girlfriend might still be forthcoming. He added that the case is not being investigated as a hate crime but instead as a capital murder: “We believe there was some truth to (the claim of unwanted sexual advances), but we think there was more to it,” he said.

He added that Knutson had been a Kirby resident for several years, and although he was on the sex offender registry, police didn't have problems with him. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Knutson was convicted in 2002 of indecency with a child. The incident, which took place in 1999, involved an 8-year-old girl. ..Source.. by Eva Ruth Moravec

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