The 58-year-old woman who confessed to killing her 35-year-old son, cutting off his head and dumping his body last year in Whitman County claimed her son threatened her with a gun prior to the killing.
Christine D. Catelli faces a possible charge of second-degree murder in Chase Catelli's death and booked into the Spokane County Jail on Jan. 15. She remained there Sunday in lieu of a $500,000 bond.
Christine Catelli told a Spokane County Sheriff's Office detective that leading up to the killing, Chase Catelli shot a gun inside her boyfriend's van and at her boyfriend's Spangle home, 1403 W. Jennings Road, where she said she killed her son, according to search warrant documents filed Tuesday in Spokane County Superior Court. According to Washington voter registration records, Chase Catelli also lived at the residence, located in a quiet farming community next to a dairy farm, about 3 miles down an unpaved road from U.S. Highway 195.
Christine Catelli told sheriff's deputies that Chase Catelli shot the back door of the residence and the trunk of a tree outside the home.
Christine Catelli's brother called authorities Jan. 14 saying Christine Catelli told him earlier that day she killed her son just before she entered drug rehabilitation last summer, documents said. According to a probable cause affidavit filed Tuesday in Spokane County District Court, the brother convinced her to turn herself in to the sheriff's office.
The brother drove Christine Catelli from his Western Washington home to Spokane to report the crime and help authorities find the body, the sheriff's office said in a news release last week.
Christine Catelli led investigators to Gene Webb Road near Rock Lake, and directed them to a small concrete bridge that ran perpendicular to the road and over Kamiache Creek, the affidavit said. She said she wrapped her son's body in black plastic and dropped him over the side of the bridge and into the brush.
Christine Catelli told investigators she cut off her son's head with a saw before wrapping it in plastic and also dumping it, the affidavit said. She said she threw his plastic-wrapped head into the trees along the south bank of the creek.
A detective located a large black plastic bag containing human remains in the exact area Christine Catelli identified, the sheriff's office said.
According to search warrant documents, Christine Catelli told a detective she shot her son five or six times in the chest and head as he sat on a couch in the living room of her boyfriend's home west of Spangle. She said her boyfriend was not home at the time.
She said in the documents she shot her son using a revolver her son had given her.
Christine Catelli said she may have missed her son with one of the bullets and that it hit the wall behind him in the living room, according to documents. She said in the affidavit she shot her son multiple times because she "didn't want him to suffer."
She said she used one of her boyfriend's vans to transport her son's body, according to documents. She told the detective she disposed of the revolver, the fired cartridge cases and other items related to the killing along roads in Whitman and/or Spokane County.
Christine Catelli said in the documents she cleaned the scene inside the home using peroxide after the killing. She said she and her boyfriend disposed of the couch her son was sitting on when he was shot.
Christine Catelli made her initial appearance Tuesday in Spokane County District Court. She was previously convicted of second-degree theft, a felony, and sentenced to drug court in 2010. She is not allowed to possess a firearm, documents say.
Chase Catelli had other also had prior run-ins with local law enforcement.
Spokane County deputies arrested him in 2018 after he struggled with deputies who thought he had an active warrant for his arrest, although he did not. He was also arrested in 2010 for drug charges. He received probation sentences in both cases.
While living in Reardan in 2009, Catelli reportedly shot himself in the foot and told Lincoln County sheriff's deputies that another man accidentally shot him, according to the Whitman County Sheriff's Office at the time. Deputies determined Catelli shot himself in the foot and lied because he didn't know if he could legally possess a firearm, authorities said.
A Spokesman-Review archive photo shows Chase Catelli, his brother Blake Catelli and their mother, formerly known as Sierra Cooney, at an apartment in a transitional living center in 1993.
Chase Catelli frequently wrote about depression, loneliness and how he missed his family in public posts on his Facebook page up until December 2020. In November 2020, he wrote a post saying he hoped to one day buy a home for his mother.