Fugitive Travis Kirchner killed Sally Rothe with a concrete owl, court told
Travis Kirchner pleaded guilty to the murder of Murray Bridge woman Sally Rothe in September. (SA Police/Facebook)
A court has heard fugitive killer Travis Kirchner used a concrete owl statue to kill Murray Bridge woman Sally Rothe after an argument erupted between them.
- Travis Kirchner murdered Sally Rothe in her Murray Bridge home on February 4
- The court heard he had been drinking and got into an argument with her before the attack
- He pleaded guilty to murdering Ms Rothe in September
Kirchner’s motive for the murder was revealed during sentencing submissions in Adelaide’s Supreme Court.
Ms Rothe, 54, was murdered on February 4 in her home on Albert Terrace, Murray Bridge, south-east of Adelaide.
Following her murder, Kirchner, 44, fled interstate and was arrested several days later at a home in the outer Melbourne suburb of Doveton after an extensive police search.
Prosecutor Ryan Williams told the court that Kirchner carried out several blows to the mother-of-three’s face and head using the concrete owl statue.
The attack lasted between 40 seconds and one minute.
“That’s a long time to be repeatedly striking someone to the face and head with something made of concrete,” Mr Williams said.
He then put her body in a garbage bin, where it was found.
‘Explosive’ attack occurred after argument
Kirchner’s defence lawyer, Derek Kordick, said his client knew Ms Rothe and would sometimes stay at her property a couple of nights a week.
Mr Kordick said Kirchner, who had been drinking, went to Ms Rothe’s home to collect some of his belongings when an argument between the pair broke out.
“Something occurred at the house — an argument of some sorts — he can’t remember the specifics of what occurred,” Mr Kordick told the court.
“But ultimately what happened is Ms Rothe struck him over the head with a picture frame.
“… He responded in a way which was explosive and violent.”
Mr Kordick today said Kirchner was entitled to a discount on his sentence because he pleaded guilty early in the court process.
He faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison.
Justice David Peek said he would reserve judgment on a non-parole period until next year.