Her husband pretended to be a stalker ex-boyfriend. Now he’s charged with her murder

Daniel Krug appeared on Thursday in a Colorado court accused of murdering his wife Kristil — but in a bizarre twist, authorities say Krug pretended to stalk his wife in order to frame her ex-boyfriend

Sheila Flynn
Thursday 09 May 2024 23:21 BST
Daniel Krug on the left and his wife Kristil Krug, who he is charged with murdering
Daniel Krug on the left and his wife Kristil Krug, who he is charged with murdering (Broomfield Police Department and Krug family)

A Colorado father of three accused of killing his wife after a stalking campaign designed to frame her ex-boyfriend pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges of murder, stalking and criminal impersonation.

Daniel Krug, 43, shuffled to his seat in Broomfield Combined Courts beside his defence attorney – shackled, wearing a blue-grey prison jumpsuit and appearing significantly more white-haired than in his December mugshot. He was arrested nine days before Christmas following the 14 December discovery of the body of his wife, Kristil, at the home they shared in Broomfield, about 20 miles north of Denver.

Judge Priscilla Loew on Thursday admonished Krug regarding his contact with the couple’s children, who range in age from 8 to 14. Prosecutors had asked that contact be stopped after Krug allegedly tried to broach the investigation and other off-limits matters in phone calls.

Defence attorney Phil Geigle argued on Thursday that the content of the calls had been mischaracterized, and the judge declined to order all contact ceased – but she did, while admonishing Krug, remind him to “not talk about the case, the investigation or any alternative suspect.”

Krug, prosecutors allege, spent months pretending to stalk his wife as one of her ex-boyfriends in an attempt to blame the other man for Kristil’s murder. She had broken up with the former boyfriend in 2000, but he’d allegedly contacted her in 2002, 2005, 2010 and around 2016 – and “each time … proposed they have a sexual encounter or meet in person” with “rude comments” often included, according to Krug’s arrest affidavit.

Mugshot of Daniel Krug (Bloomfield Police)

She “never reported these communications prior because [the ex] stopped communication when Kristil did not respond,” the affidavit continued.

But she became concerned after crude and hostile messages began again in October 2023, including an email with an attached photo of Krug “exiting his vehicle at his workplace” on Halloween. She filed a harassment report with police the same day, but messages continued, including another email noting correctly that her licence plate had expired and a message that made it seem like the sender had been watching Kristil attend a dentist’s appointment.

On 13 November, Kristil alerted police to another message that seemed to threaten her husband: “I’ll save u. Help me get rid of him an we get away. I know he stopping u from talking to me. U dont want him I know u want me.”

The message prompted police to duly check on Krug at his workplace and Kristil at her residence.

“Given the context of the communication, obscene material and comments, Kristil was very fearful for her safety and the safety of her family,” the affidavit continues. “There is evidence and admission of repeated following and surveillance of her and her immediate family. The recent communication has caused her anxiety, hyper-vigilance, and paranoia. She has suffered severe emotional distress.”

Messages continued via email, however – and, on 14 December, Krug “called Broomfield Police and said he couldn’t reach his wife for 3 hours.”

An officer conducting a wellness check “looked through the windows and saw a female on the ground and bright red blood smear on the drywall on the south wall of the garage.

“The female was lying on her back near the stairs from the garage to the house on the southwest corner of the garage,” the affidavit states.

“The blood was on the wall near her head and there was also blood on the floor near the female.”

Upon entry, the officer found no pulse but Kristil’s body was warm as he called for an ambulance and started CPR – though she was pronounced dead at 12.43pm at Good Samaritan Hospital.

Police later noted a home security camera taped over and found that “three or four of the cameras were offline for a significant part of the morning.”

When interviewed, Krug “could not provide any explanation” – and, after tracing the IP address where messages originated, found it “was similar to where [Krug] works.”

Police seized his work and personal phones and also established that the ex-boyfriend had been in Utah, where he resides, and in the company of his wife at the time of Kristil’s killing.

Krug was read his Miranda right to silence so as to avoid self-incrimination by Broomfield police, and then he “explained that he left his house about 20 minutes later than usual because he was having unexplainable stomach trouble; he implied that he was diarrheal,” the affidavit states.

“Kristil had left the house to take the kids to school, and when she came home she interacted with Daniel. At that time, Kristil inquired about him still being at home because it was abnormal. Daniel denied any argument or physical altercation between them.”

An autopsy conducted the day after Kristil’s death found preliminarily that Kristil suffered “two or more blunt-force trauma wounds on the back of her head and one stab wound on the left side of her chest.”

Kristil’s stepmother also told authorities on 15 December that the couple had been having marital problems and, days before her death, “told her that she had a photo on her phone … which she planned to use to seek full custody of the children.”

The stepmother added in a follow-up interview that Kristil was planning on leaving her husband and had been moving up the timeline for separation – and that, in the days following her killing, Krug had “spoken about selling his and Kristil’s house” and “throwing her clothing away.”

Krug was arrested on 16 December – two days after the discovery of his wife’s body at the behest of his welfare call.

“The last known person to see Kristil alive is Daniel Krug,” the affidavit states. “The IP address used while stalking Kristil originates from Daniel’s workplace. The only person to have access to the residential cameras at the Krug home, to manually turn them offline are Daniel, Kristil and [redacted.]

“Kristil was said to be someone who would fight and defend herself and there is no sign of struggle at the residence. Kristil was also found to have possession of her loaded concealed carry firearm on her person; indicating she was taken by surprise or by someone familiar.

Kristil Krug, a mother of three (Krug family)

“Based on the totality of circumstances, probable cause exists to believe that Daniel Krug committed the offence of Murder in the First Degree.”

There is no mention of Krug in his wife’s obituary, which described a full-of-life devoted mother equally talented in the arts and sciences. A Colorado native, Kristil was a modern dance performer who became a biochemical engineer.

“Tragically, Kristil’s promising journey was cut short by a senseless act of violence that took her from us too soon,” the obituary states. “Our hearts are broken and we will miss her dearly.

“As we grieve the loss of a vibrant and talented soul, we remember Kristil for the joy she brought into our lives, the beauty she shared through her art, and the intellect she brought to the scientific community.”

A trial date has been set for 14 October.

Krug’s family and supporters, many of whom attended court on Thursday, have set up a crowd-funding site to help his “mounting a vigorous defense, countering these terrible accusations” and setting “the right path towards the real perpetrator who remains at large,” it states – adding that Krug was “terrified and feels deeply betrayed by the situation.”

It had raised $6,225 of a $125,000 goal as of Thursday.

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