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Klettke, accused of killing father, has hearing Jan. 6

Francis Claude Klettke

Francis Claude Klettke

CAMP VERDE — A man accused of killing his father at a Yavapai County campsite in 2016 is due to make a court appearance by phone next week.

Francis C. Klettke, 24, was ordered in August to undergo a “Rule 11” evaluation by psychiatric personnel. That has been completed and Klettke has been declared competent to stand trial, facing a charge of first-degree murder.

He is being held without bond in Lower Buckeye Jail in Maricopa County.

Monday, Jan. 6, Klettke is set to appear by phone in a pre-trial conference at 10:30 a.m. in the Yavapai Superior courtroom of Judge Michael Bluff. No trial date is currently set; his original Jan. 22 trial was postponed indefinitely until the competency process was complete.

Klettke, who is from the Union City, Calif., area, is in jail in Maricopa County because he was arrested on an arson charge there in June. He was jailed after his arrest and extradition from California in November 2016, shortly after his father’s apparent blunt-trauma death in October 2016 at a campsite in the Fossil Creek area, and was declared competent to stand trial in February 2017.

His mother, Esther Velasquez Klettke, then put up about $200,000 in assets to bond him out of Yavapai County Jail. He did not accept a plea offer extended to him in June 2018, that would have had a prosecution-recommended 20 years in state prison as a sentence.

Klettke was arrested in June in Maricopa County on an arson charge.

During an August hearing, defense attorney Jillian Bachman-Underhill said Klettke was “responding to internal stimuli” while in jail in Buckeye.

It is not apparent from court documents whether the motion made by Esther Velasquez Klettke, has moved, through a Phoenix-area law firm, to have the bond exonerated, was granted by Bluff. This would relieve her of responsibility for the $200,000 she put up in assets as bond in May in order to get her son out of jail.

On Oct. 27, 2016, Yavapai County Sherrif’s deputies were dispatched to a campsite near the main trailhead area off Fossil Creek Road (southeast of Camp Verde) for a report of a dead man. A news release from Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office said deputies confirmed the death and noted trauma to the man’s head.

Deputies contained the area and interviewed campers nearby. Detectives discovered that the victim’s son had several matching characteristics of the man seen in a Jeep by witnesses – which was registered with his Union City address. Two days later, Klettke was arrested by Union City police officers during a traffic stop, booked, and later extradited to Yavapai County.

Klettke is due to attend a sentencing hearing on the arson charge in Maricopa County on Thursday, Jan. 9.

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