Breaking News
More () »

Victim's parents take the stand in murder trial of son-in-law

It was a somber mood Wednesday inside the courtroom as jurors were shown pictures of 48-year-old Debora Kelly after she was shot and killed outside her bedroom door.

It was a somber mood Wednesday inside the courtroom as jurors were shown pictures of 48-year-old Debora Kelly after she was shot and killed outside her bedroom door.

The shooter, her husband, Lars Itzo, claims that he thought his wife was an intruder breaking into his home just before dawn.

A grand jury returned an indictment for two counts: one for murder, the other for manslaughter.

Itzo told police that, in the early morning hours of October 10, 2015, he thought he heard multiple people coming in the front door of his Stone Oak home.

He told investigators that when he heard his dog growling, he quickly grabbed a shotgun from his nightstand and, as he approached the doorway to the bedroom, he fired when he saw a silhouette about four feet away.

The only other person inside the home in the 3500 block of Bent Hollow was his wife, Debora Kelly. She died on scene from a gunshot wound to the chest.

Kelly's parents testified Wednesday afternoon. Jim Kelly, Debora's father, was the first of the duo to take the stand.

"Lars and I had a time or two where we kind of had hot conversations," Jim said. "I explained to him at one time, 'Lars, I'm doing everything I know how to do to stay befriended with you, to believe this was an accident, and to make good with this. But I have bad days and I have days I just can't buy it. And when I have those days, I probably feel like killing ya.'"

Debora Kelly's parents and friends describe her as having a "type A" personality. She was very goal-oriented and dedicated a majority of her time to her job. She was the vice president of National Surgical Healthcare and would travel frequently for work.

Jim, who is in charge of Debora's estate, discovered that her assets added up to over $1 million. She did not leave a will or any evidence of a prenuptial agreement.

"She always had goals and achieved them regularly. She was very successful," Jim said. "Her great goal was to retire early, and her definition of early was 50 years of age."

Both of Kelly's parents said that their daughter always kept details of her relationships private, and wasn't comfortable with public displays of affection.

"I think [Itzo] was infatuated with [Debbie]. I think he admired her greatly and was infatuated with her," Jim said.

Family and friends say that they witnessed the couple having small arguments, but Debbie never acted fearful of her husband.

"Debbie told me a lot, but I never heard her complain about Lars in any way," said Anne Kelly, Debora's mother.

The only thing the victim would complain about was the status of a bathroom construction project Itzo was trying to complete.

"It ended up making a hole to the outside. It was just very frustrating that it was taking a long time to finish the bathroom," recalled Elizabeth Sevilla, Debbie's good friend.

Sevilla met Kelly at Community Bible Church in 2002. She said that she would spend time with the couple when she was in town and housesit for them on occasion.

"She loved life. She loved really getting to know people for who they were. She was a jokester," said Elizabeth Sevilla, a good friend of Debora Kelly.

San Antonio police detectives testified Tuesday that they didn't believe Itzo's emotions were genuine as he spoke about the incident.

Multiple friends of Itzo took the stand Wednesday and said otherwise. Itzo's friend of 25 years, Mark Hassel, told the courtroom that the defendant is still grieving the loss.

"He was in tears the whole time [at the funeral service]," Hassel said. "There was no way he could hold it back. I don't think any of us could hold it back. I've never seen him cry before."

Jurors must first deliberate the murder charge, punishable by five to 99 years or life in prison. If they can't reach a verdict, they'll then consider manslaughter, which is two to 20 years and probation.

The trial continues Thursday.

Before You Leave, Check This Out