Kelsie Schelling, 21, vanished in February 2013 shortly after finding out that she was eight weeks pregnant. She’d driven down from Denver to Pueblo to meet her boyfriend Donthe Lucas, who had asked her to come for a “surprise.” Lucas and Schelling met in 2010 at Northeastern Junior College and dated for about two years on-and-off before deciding to leave the school.
Over the holidays in 2012, Schelling learned that she was pregnant and told her mother, who according to ABC News, said, “I will support you whether Donthe is in the picture or not in the picture. It’s going to be OK.”
According to the young woman’s friends, the couple’s relationship was rocky and the two often fought and made up. Just before she disappeared, Lucas had texted Schelling and asked her to drive down to Pueblo for a surprise: “I don’t want to fight at all, I want to give you this. Just wait and see for yourself, you probably wouldn’t believe me if I told you anyway, so you can see for yourself.”
It wasn’t until years after her disappearance that Lucas was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. Where is Donthe Lucas today?
Lucas Was Recently Sentenced to Life in Prison Without the Possibility of Parole
After just under three hours of jury deliberation, Lucas was found guilty of first-degree murder in Schelling’s death despite the absence of a body or DNA. He was then sentenced to life without parole which is the mandatory sentence for convictions of first-degree murder, the Denver Channel reported.
Lucas, now 28, was sentenced to life without parole on March 8, 2021, and is currently serving his sentence at the Centennial Correctional Facility, a maximum-security facility in Canon City, Colorado. He was transferred to the facility from the Pueblo County Jail where he had been incarcerated for the last four years.
Schelling’s mother told Westword while she’s happy he was convicted of her daughter’s murder, she wishes she knew where her daughter’s body was:
I want to be able to go to the cemetery and bring her flowers. I have nothing like that right now. But I don’t believe Donthe is ever going to let us know where she is. That’s his last control over her, and he knows that’s what I want the most. It’s just another way for him to continue to torture me.
Lucas’ Lawyers Did Not Present Any Witnesses at Trial & Did Not Say If They Plan to Appeal the Verdict
Lucas’ defense attorney during trial, Karl Tameler, did not comment about the guilty verdict and did not say whether they plan to appeal the verdict, the Pueblo Chieftain wrote. Although no news has been shared about an appeal at this time, the Pueblo County District Attorney Jeff Chostner told KRDO after sentencing that he is expecting one to be filed.
“I was an old defense councilman, and that’s what you do. You look for any errors the government has made. I’m confident this trial team didn’t make any significant errors, but I would also be naive to think an appeal might not take place.”
Thirteen days into the trial, the defense rested their case right away without calling any witnesses, ABC News reported. A former public defender, Lisa Wayne, told the outlet, “The burden of proof is on the government. So it’s simply messaging in a very strong way to the jury, ‘They haven’t done it. It’s not guilty.’ So it’s a strong message.”