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Why a Man Who Killed Wife Over Thanksgiving Could Have a Robust Defense

Matthew Mead

I’m no defense lawyer, but those who are excellent in this line of work, like the late Johnny Cochrane or Jose Baez, could probably mount a vigorous defense in this grisly Thanksgiving story of murder and mayhem. Baez has a high-profile clientele list, including Harvey Weinstein, Aaron Hernandez, and Casey Anthony. Then again, maybe this case never goes to trial. 


Imagine heading to Thanksgiving dinner expecting a fun-filled time, with loaded plates of turkey, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, and pumpkin pie—with an entire evening of football afterward—only to have one family member murder the other. And this is a messy murder, something akin to Hannibal Lecter. 

A New Mexico family was horrified when relatives discovered on Thanksgiving that a family member murdered and disemboweled his wife. 

Karlan and Connie Denio were said to be model neighbors and people. This Thanksgiving, family members reportedly could not access their home. After multiple attempts to contact anyone inside, they phoned the police. Karlan was found resting on a bed, with his dismembered spouse lying on the bedroom floor. Mr. Denio has dementia, which could make a conviction difficult (via NY Post):

A New Mexico man with dementia allegedly killed, dismembered and disemboweled his wife hours before out-of-town family arrived at their home to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Relatives of Karlan and Connie Denio had to take the hinges off a door to enter the couple’s Albuquerque home Thursday afternoon when no one answered, and then made the horrifying discovery. 

Karlan Denio, 62, was found lying in bed, while cops said his wife, Connie, was discovered “dismembered and disemboweled” on the bedroom floor, according to the Albuquerque Journal. 

Connie had arranged for relatives to arrive around 1 p.m. that day to celebrate Thanksgiving after discussing the plans in detail in a family group chat the evening before. 

But when the kin arrived that afternoon, they couldn’t get in the home. 

Karlan’s brother, who is from out-of-town, and his sister contacted police to request a welfare check after knocks on the door went unanswered. The dispatcher told them police could not force their way in, prompting the family to find their own entrance. 


Police who arrived at the grisly scene found Connie “dismembered and disemboweled,” authorities said. They detained Karlan and found he had cuts on his leg and neck, officials said. 

Karlan’s sister told police that the home had been dark when the siblings entered and found their brother “lying on the bed” with his wife on the floor.


Dementia or not—when you chop up your wife, brother, sister, aunt, or uncle, you deserve to have the book thrown at you. At the very least, lock up Mr. Denio in a mental facility for the remainder of his life because I doubt rabid turkeys killed his wife. 

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