POST FALLS, Idaho -- A North Idaho murder suspect faced a judge Tuesday afternoon accused of killing his girlfriend. A judge ordered that Christopher W. Thompson be held on $1 million bail.
Thompson is accused of killing Deborah A. Willette, 57.
Post Falls Police found Willette’s body on Monday night when they responded to a welfare at a home.
Authorities went to an apartment in the area of Compton and Seltice Way for a welfare check. Police said a family member of a man at the home reported they were concerned something had happened there between the man and his girlfriend.
When police arrived at the apartment at the Treaty Rock Apartments, they did not get a response. Officers forced their way into the home and found the Willette dead on the floor.
Officials said officers arrested Thompson about an hour later at one of his relative’s houses nearby. Investigators think the suspect acted alone and that the suspect and the victim lived together at the upstairs apartment.
Investigators attended the autopsy Tuesday morning and continue to conduct interviews and process the evidence. Probable cause was found to support the charge of first degree murder.
Prosecutors said Thompson cut Willette’s neck and bound her hands with a sweatshirt. Officials said bruises and scrapes on Willette’s body show she struggled.
A neighbor told KREM 2 News she had heard arguments coming from the apartment before. Neighbor Judy Keller said she woke up to a big thud early Monday morning.
"Pushed it real hard and hit the floor, it was very loud and disturbing,” said Keller.
While friends said the couple seemed happy, they said Thompson seemed controlling lately.
Thompson’s friend said it is not like him to murder someone.
"I'm shocked, I'm blown away because I would have never expected it. I'd never expect something like this out of Chris,” said Damon Heburn, Thompson’s friend.
Willette’s best friend was at the first appearance Tuesday. She said her friend often had bruises but would not talk about them.
The state has not decided whether or not it will seek the death penalty. A hearing for Thompson will be set within a couple of weeks.