COLORADO SPRINGS — Michael Whyte was found guilty of first-degree murder after deliberation for the 1987 murder of Darlene Krashoc, Thursday. On Friday, he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
On Thursday, it took the jury only four-and-a-half hours to reach a verdict.
Whtye, 60, collapsed as the judge read the news and people on both sides of the courtroom started crying. Members of Whyte’s family yelled “no” and “Oh, God.”
Meantime, Krashoc’s father Paul said “Justice is done. Rest, baby, rest.”
Krashoc was a 20-year-old soldier stationed at Fort Carson in 1987 when she was brutally assaulted, raped, mutilated and strangled to death with wire hanger. For more than 30 years neither her family nor police had any idea who was responsible. Then in 2019 new DNA technology led them to Whyte.
“DNA evidence has come a long way since 1987,” said Ben Hostetter, the Lead Prosecutor.
Whyte had been living in Thornton and insisted he did not kill Krashoc or even remember her, but his DNA was found all over her and the hanger that was used to kill her.
“It’s been a long haul, but the thing is we have justice for our daughter. She can rest in peace now,” said Paul Krashoc.
He and his wife Betty are hoping they can find peace now too.
“We’ll always miss her. We’ll always remember her, but I think it will be easier to go on now from day to day knowing that justice has been done,” said Paul.
Closing arguments were made Thursday morning where the prosecution focused on the DNA evidence and the fact that Whyte’s DNA was found on Krashoc’s pants, body, and on the wire hanger that was used to strangle her to death.
Whyte sat in court in a blue business suit listening intently, occasionally taking notes and shaking his head “no.”
The prosecution said while the court may never know what exactly took place that night, “DNA tells us that he was with her in the final moments of her life,” and “he was the one on the other end of that hanger.”
The defense argued that DNA does not equal guilt and focused on the “terrifying” possibility that Whyte’s DNA could have been transferred onto Krashoc and other items through another person. Attorney David Foley also said there was problems with the investigation and implied that former Colorado Springs Police Detective and now reality-television star Joe Kenda, failed to thoroughly investigate a pick-up truck and other possible suspect.
He compared the evidence in the case to a piece of lost luggage, specifically referring to the wire hanger, saying it had been improperly handled and the integrity of the DNA had been compromised.
In rebuttal the prosecution said Whyte’s DNA was found at both crime scenes, the one on Krashoc’s body and in the parking lot on some cigarette butts where her body was dumped. The prosecution called Krashoc a “warrior” and said she fought back against her assailant while pointing emphatically at Whyte.
Krashoc’s mother agreed her daughter was a fighter but she said she was also kind and compassionate, and that’s how they want her to be remembered.
“She was a very very good person,” said Paul.
Paul and Betty said they want him to spend the rest of his life thinking about what he did.
“He’ll meet her when he passes, she’s waiting for him,” said Betty.
Whyte is scheduled to be sentenced Friday morning at 8:30 a.m.