For many years, the death of Mary Klatt haunted the entire neighbourhood.
Mary Klatt, a night clerk of the AmericInn Motel, was discovered brutally killed on May 29, 2003, in the conference room of the establishment.
‘Murder In The Heartland: Homicide Hotel’ on Investigation Discovery examines the specifics of this horrific case and what transpired to the murderer, Roger Allen Morton.
What happened to Mary Klatt and how did she die? ID’s Murder In The Heartland explores night clerk murder https://t.co/P2nubBMmlJ
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Mary Klatt was a valued member of her community and a native of Blue Earth, Minnesota.
Although she was employed as a teacher in Iowa, she frequently visited her hometown to care for her mother, who had fallen unwell following the death of her father.
Mary spent her mornings working as a substitute teacher and her evenings working as a night clerk at the AmericInn Motel. Mary and Danny Larson were set to get married on the day of the tragedy.
Details of the Mary Klatt murder
At first glance, Mary’s murder appeared to be a botched robbery, but following deeper inspection, investigators learned that the crime was much more terrible.
In the conference room, Mary was discovered lying on her back with her trousers and shirt pulled down.
She sustained multiple injuries, including physical strangulation, defensive wounds, and sexual assault.
The external doors of the motel were shut at 11 p.m., and guests could only enter the motel through the front door with assistance from the night clerk, the police learned during their inquiry.
According to the programme, the death occurred on May 29 sometime between three and five in the morning. Additionally, the detectives uncovered proof that Mary had begun her daily audit at around 3:12 am but never completed it.
When they uncovered a nine-man construction crew from Mason City, Iowa, staying at the motel while working at a nearby hospital, the authorities quickly located a lead.
A member of the construction team named Roger Allen Morton was questioned about his whereabouts at the time of the murder.
On May 28, 2003, Morton allegedly told the police that he went uptown after work to have a couple beers and play some pool.
At some point after 1:30 in the morning, he allegedly made his way back to the motel and lit up outdoors.
In order to get to his room, where he eventually fell asleep, Morton claimed to have entered through the unlocked front door without encountering anyone.
Morton further denied knowing Mary or spotting anyone else in the meeting room.
Mary Klatt murder: the evidence against Morton
The police discovered evidence that refute Morton’s version of events.
According to phone records, a call was made on May 29, 2003, about 2:59 am, using a prepaid phone card that belonged to Morton.
Morton asserted that she had only used the phone on May 28, 2003, in the late afternoon.
Physical proof also connected him to the slaying, including DNA that matched semen discovered in Mary’s ovary and a hair discovered on her body.
Morton’s Conviction- where is he now?
Trial in Morton’s case began in early 2004.
The defence named additional candidates, including one who had been convicted of criminal sexual behaviour in the past, who could have committed the crime, but the prosecution pointed to Morton’s DNA match and phone records as proof of his guilt.
Morton was given a life sentence without the possibility of parole after a jury found him guilty of first-degree felony murder and second-degree intentional murder.
At the Minnesota Correction Facility – Stillwater in Bayport, Washington County, Morton is still detained.
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