Soon after the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office announced they wanted the public’s help in the search for a man suspected of double homicide near Franktown on Feb. 9, comments began pouring in.
Over the next few days, dozens of people flocked to the sheriff’s office social media posts to express their grief, their surprise and their confusion. Many said that the man in question, 29-year-old Casey Devol, was someone they call a friend.
A few hours after the announcement from DCSO, Devol was arrested on suspicion of killing two people: his sister, Jessica Mitchell, and her boyfriend, Bryan Todd Gray. According to the sheriff’s office, Devol was seen on video entering and leaving the home with firearms during the time of the murders. Friends and commenters have said there must be more to the story.
Sheriff Tony Spurlock said in an interview with Colorado Community Media that so far, the physical evidence points to only one suspect being responsible for the murders.
Why this happened, however, doesn’t seem as clear.
“Nothing is jumping off the table at us right now for a motive,” Spurlock said.
Detectives are continuing to look through the evidence and interview people with possible knowledge of the situation.
“Until all of that comes in and we analyze it all I think it’s going to be difficult for us to put together a ‘why,’” he said.
Spurlock said none of the people involved, including both victims and Devol, had anything more than “minor law enforcement contacts” in the past. There also hadn’t been calls for service or for mental health concerns at their homes.
Mitchell, 32, and Gray, 34, weren’t the only victims. A dog named Cleo was also found dead at the scene, Spurlock said. Investigators are unsure whose dog Cleo was. Autopsies are being completed on Mitchell and Gray, and a necropsy will be performed on the dog.
As of Feb. 11, Devol was in the process of being extradited from Salina, Kansas, where he was picked up by law enforcement a day after the homicides were discovered. Detectives had already conducted one interview with him but hoped to learn more from Devol when he arrived back in Douglas County, Spurlock said.
Devol had his first appearance in court Feb. 14 and was charged by the 18th Judicial District with two counts of first-degree murder and felony animal cruelty. His next hearing will be Feb. 22.
Friends, neighbors in shock
In messages with Colorado Community Media, multiple people who said they grew up around Devol and his family said the event was totally out of character for him.
“He, along with Jessica and Zach, showed me the ropes around farm/country life and even took me to my first rodeo,” said one friend, who asked to remain anonymous. “I’ve only experienced happiness around that family and always admired how close-knit they were with each other.”
Another friend who asked to remain anonymous called the Devols “just your typical farmer family” and spoke about childhood memories riding around their property on ATVs.
“Anyone who knows Casey knows he’s an amazing person and family meant everything to him,” he said.
Spurlock said his office has heard much of the same.
“We’re getting the same information from witnesses and people interviewed that this kind of behavior would be out of character for the suspect,” he said.
While the office continues its investigation, Spurlock asked the community to refrain from coming to their own conclusions on the situation.
“Both families are just reeling with the horrible heartache and tragedy and trying to figure out how this could have happened, why it happened,” he said.