Gulbertson’s father testifies about morning of Morrow’s death

Published 4:45 pm Saturday, April 24, 2010

The father of Chad Jamie Gulbertson gave emotional testimony Friday morning at the Rice County Courthouse about the morning his son told him he thought he had killed Jody Lee Morrow.

It was the morning of June 21, 2009, a Father’s Day Dennis Gulbertson said he wished he could forget.

On that day, he said, he got a call from Chad Gulbertson, 38, just after 6 a.m. at his home in rural Alden. He didn’t know where his son was calling from.

Email newsletter signup

The father said Chad Gulbertson just told him he needed to come and get him from Albert Lea and that he couldn’t stay there.

Dennis Gulbertson said he was half asleep at the time and was a little angry he had to drive into Albert Lea at that time and pick up his son.

At about 6:30 a.m. or shortly after, he got to the home of Al Ankerson, where Gulbertson was staying on Euclid Avenue. He honked the horn when he got to the house, and Chad Gulbertson came out.

His son had a bag with him that he put in the trunk, and then the father and son drove back to Alden.

Dennis Gulbertson said he did not have a whole lot of conversation with his son on that drive.

When they got back, he told his son he needed to go lay down. He had a bad headache and was feeling sick.

After Dennis Gulbertson got up, he said he noticed Chad Gulbertson was laying on the couch crying.

The father said he asked his son what was wrong, and it took him a while to respond. He kept crying and crying.

Dennis Gulbertson had to ask him the same question three, four or maybe even five times before he got a response, he said.

Finally, the father said, his son told him he had done “the stupidest thing.”

“He said he thought he killed Jody.”

“It just hit me like a ton of bricks. I couldn’t comprehend what he said,” Dennis Gulbertson said.

The father said his son was crying uncontrollably and that it was hard to understand him.

Chad Gulbertson told him he went to Morrow’s trailer to talk to her and get some of his belongings back. They ended up inside the trailer.

Dennis Gulbertson said it was hard to remember a lot of their conversation because it was a traumatic experience. He was crying with his son.

He remembered his son saying he thought he had hit Morrow with a hammer and that she was dead.

Chad Gulbertson had an ice pack on his left hand when he was at the house.

About an hour or an hour and a half after the father first saw Chad Gulbertson crying, the two went to the Law Enforcement Center in Albert Lea, where they asked to speak with officer Bob Etheridge.

The father said his son was wearing the same clothes he had on when he picked him up and he hadn’t showered to his knowledge. He didn’t smell of alcohol or marijuana.

Dennis Gulbertson’s testimony came during what is the fifth day of testimony in the homicide trial against Chad Gulbertson.

Right before court recessed for lunch, the prosecution began discussing a phone call the father and son had June 25, 2009, after Chad Gulbertson was arrested.

The jury was going to listen to the audio of this call after they returned from lunch.

Gulbertson faces five charges of murder in Morrow’s death.