Man Convicted For Killing Mom In Alpine Home

DA: John Nicholas Gunther Held Drug Party After Killing Dixie Lee Larson

A substance abuser who was overheard telling people he wanted to kill his mother was convicted of murder Friday for carrying out his plan several days before Christmas 2008.

John Nicholas Gunther, 30, faces 26 years to life in prison when he is sentenced by Judge Herbert Exarhos on July 15.

Gunther fatally bludgeoned Dixie Lee Larson in her Alpine mobile home because of disagreements over money and his failure to attend drug rehabilitation sessions, according to Deputy District Attorney John Philpott.

Gunther held a drug party at the mobile home after the killing and ordered attendees stay out of the garage, where deputies found the woman's body under a pile of blankets on Dec. 27, 2008, Philpott said.

The deputies checked her residence at the behest of relatives who hadn't heard from her, he said.

Defense attorney Sandy Resnick argued that her client couldn't form the intent necessary for a murder conviction because of "brain impairment" he suffered from his drug use and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, arising from abuse at the hands of his mother.

Gunther was arrested at an El Cajon motel hours after the body was found. Larson's SUV was parked right outside his room, according to the prosecutor.