COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho – The suspect in the death of a 37-year-old Kootenai County woman has had confrontations with the law before, according to court documents.
Steven Denson, 61, wanted in connection to the death of Kelly Pease was found dead on Thursday. Pease was found dead with a gunshot wound to the head on Wednesday afternoon. She was found in her car at Kootenai Health by a hospital employee.
North Idaho College confirmed that Pease was a nursing student there.
According to court documents, Denson violated a no-contact order in February and attacked Pease in January. He was also accused of strangulation and domestic violence in January.
Police responded to a home on North 14th Street and East Syringa Drive on January 23 for reports of a physical domestic dispute.
According to court documents, police spoke with Pease once on scene. Police said she was scared and shaken up, but doing her best to maintain composure.
Pease told police Denson had left the scene minutes before. According to Pease, Denson had a history of domestic violence years before. Pease said she had been engaged to Denson since June of 2016 and had split with him the day before.
According to court documents, Denson lived with Pease, but was attempting to move out of the home. In the process, Denson got physical with Pease and said “I’m going to let you have it.” Pease said Denson never struck her, but did not fight back for fear he would.
Pease told police Denson grabbed her by the throat and squeezed with both hands for nearly eight seconds. Pease said she never lost consciousness and could breath, but it hurt to swallow.
Documents said Denson then struck Pease multiple times in the stomach. Pease told police that Denson then partially undressed her and believes the thought of sexually assaulting her crossed his mind.
Pease told police she then attempted to grab her keys and leave. Denson attempted to stop her and then stabbed her in the right side. Pease dropped her keys and Denson took them. According to documents, Denson then threw Pease on the bed and left.
Pease then went to her neighbor’s house and called police. Police offered Pease medical care. Documents state she had marks to her wrists, chest, stomach and neck.
Pease provided police information regarding Denson’s possible whereabouts. Attempts to locate Denson were unsuccessful.
On January 25, two days after the incident, police learned Denson had checked himself into Kootenai Health for an unrelated health issue. Police contacted him there.
According to court documents, police asked Denson about putting his hands on Pease. At first, Denson said he did not know, but later stated it was possible he did.
Documents state Denson gave similar answers when police asked about him putting his hands on Pease’s neck. When questioned if he undressed Pease, Denson stated, “not that I know of.” When pushed, the only specific denial Denson issued was making contact with Pease’s genitals.
Police told Denson they had probable cause to arrest him. Since he was in a hospital bed and police did not know his condition, they decided against arrest at the time. They soon learned Denson was set to be released within the hour.
According to court documents, police waited and re-contacted Denson when he was released.
Denson was taken into custody for attempted strangulation. Officers cited and released Denson on a domestic battery charge and two property charges so that he could be booked on the aforementioned charge.