GREAT FALLS – A Montana jury convicted a man of killing a disabled veteran, burying his body in the dirt floor of a barn near Great Falls, selling his pickup truck and stealing his disability benefits for several months.
The jury reached its verdict Tuesday against Brandon Lee Craft several hours after hearing closing statements in the five-day trial in Great Falls.
Prosecutors presented evidence that Craft confessed to shooting Adam Petzack in 2016 and drew a map to guide investigators to his body.
Authorities say Craft wrote letters to his grandmother and his father-in-law acknowledging he killed the 28-year-old Petzack. The letters said Craft’s wife had nothing to do with it, prosecutors said.
However, Craft testified that his now ex-wife, Katelyn Zdeb, was responsible for Petzack’s death. The couple divorced in 2017.
During closing statements, Assistant Cascade County Attorney Kory Larsen said Craft’s claim that Zdeb killed Petzack didn’t hold water.
Larsen asked jurors: Why didn’t he call police? Why didn’t he check Petzack’s room or the barn to verify Zdeb’s story? Why did he consent to stealing from Petzack.
Larsen also noted the abrupt end to the almost-daily calls from Craft to Petzack, arguing the only reason you stop calling someone after a four-year friendship is that you know they’re not going to answer.
Zdeb has pleaded guilty to stealing Petzack’s money and his pickup truck.
Petzack was on full disability through Veterans Affairs because of a traumatic brain injury he suffered in Iraq and post-traumatic stress disorder, court records said.
Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.
Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.