Who is Kierre Williams Iowa? Everything to Know About Stephen Gutgsell’s Murderer

Kierre L Williams of Sioux City Iowa has been arrested for the murder of Rev Stephen Gutgsell.

Kierre L. Williams, 43, was arrested on suspicion of homicide and use of a weapon to commit a felony, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release Sunday night.

This was after the murder of the Rev. Stephen Gutgsell, a Catholic priest in Washington County, Nebraska.

In this article, we break down the facts surrounding this sad story of Kierre Williams Iowa and Rev Stephen Gutgsell.

Who is Kierre L Williams Iowa?

kierre williams iowa

Kierre L Williams is a 43-year-old American male from Sioux City, Iowa, who was arrested for the murder of Catholic priest, Stephen Gutgsell.

The murder suspect was born on 08/02/80.

Early Sunday morning, around 5:05 a.m. local time, law enforcement responded to a 911 call about an attempted break-in at St. John’s Catholic Church rectory in Fort Calhoun, Nebraska.

After responding to the scene, authorities found the suspect and the Rev. Stephen Gutgsell, who was suffering from injuries sustained in an assault.

After being transported to a local hospital, Gutgsell later died from his injuries, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said.

Kierre Williams Iowa was taken into custody and transported to Washington County Correctional.

A statement from the Washington County Sherif’s Office, Nebraska, outlined the situation.

“At approximately 0505 hours on the morning of December 10, 2023, Washington County 911 Center received a call of an attempted break in at the St. John’s Catholic Church rectory in Fort Calhoun. Deputies arrived at the scene in 6 minutes and located a black male inside the residence and Father Steven Guttsel suffering from injuries sustained from an assault,” the statement read.

kierre l. williams

“Father Guttsel was transported to UNMC by the Fort Calhoun Rescue where he later died from his injuries. 

“The black male suspect was taken into custody and transported to the Washington County correctional facility.

“This is an ongoing investigation…Kierre L. Williams, 43 years of age from Sioux City IA has been arrested for Homicide and use of a weapon to commit a felony. 

“Father Guttsel was stabbed during the assault and died from his wounds. 

“All further media releases will be from the Washington County Attorney’s Office,”

Who is Kierre Williams Iowa victim – Rev Stephen Gutgsell?

fr stephen gutgsell omaha

Rev Stephen Gutgsell was a beloved American Catholic Priest at St. John the Baptist Church in Fort Calhoun who was stabbed to death.

Gutgsell was assaulted at the church’s rectory by Kierre L Williams, 43 of Sioux City, Iowa.

Father Gutgsell was assaulted at the church’s rectory and taken to the University of Nebraska Medical Center but did not survive.

Platt Valley Media reported that in 2007, Father Stephen Gutgsell pleaded guilty to theft by deception, involving the embezzlement of $127,000 from a local church. Despite the legal consequences, he expressed remorse, underwent probation, and engaged in restitution. 

Subsequently, he was reassigned to another church, and community leaders attested to his contrition.

Earlier this year, Father Gutgsell’s brother, Michael Gutgsell, also faced legal issues, pleading guilty to theft charges. 

Michael had served as chancellor of the Omaha Archdiocese from 1994 to 2003.

Sheriff Robinson, however, stated that there is currently no indication that Father Stephen Gutgsell’s tragic demise is connected to his past legal troubles. 

The Archdiocese of Omaha said in a statement following Gutgsell’s demise at the hands of Kierre L Williams.

“The Archdiocese of Omaha is praying for Father Stephen Gutgsell, who was assaulted during an invasion at the rectory of St. John the Baptist parish in Fort Calhoun early Sunday morning. 

“Father Gutgsell was transported to Nebraska Medicine in Omaha, where he died of his injuries. 

“The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is investigating, and there are no further details at this time. 

“Please join Archbishop George Lucas in prayer for the repose of Father Gutgsell, for his family and for the St. John the Baptist parish community in this tragic time,”

Michael Gutgsell

Michael Gutgsell

Fr Michael Gutgsell, also a priest, is a brother of Stephen who also got into trouble with the law, according to Pillar Catholic.

Read their report below…

Fr. Michael Gutgsell, 74, pled in a Douglas County courtroom June 29 to two misdemeanor counts of theft, and was sentenced to two years of probation. The priest was initially charged in December 2021 with a felony count of theft along with the abuse of a vulnerable adult — and could have faced five years in prison if convicted of those charges.

According to charging documents, Gutgsell gave the stolen money, along with hundreds of thousands from his own savings, to an Omaha homeless man whom he apparently believed would pay him back.

Gutgsell was chancellor of the Omaha archdiocese from 1994 until 2003. He subsequently served as the pastor of several parishes in the Omaha archdiocese.

According to charging documents, Gutgsell took advantage of Fr. Ted Richling, an elderly priest for whom Gutgsell had power of attorney, ostensibly to assist Richling in the management of his finances. 

Prosecutors said that Gutgsell used his position to take at least $154,732 from Richling’s bank account. 

In addition to the theft, prosecutors charged Gutgsell with exploiting Richling, whom prosecutors classified as a “vulnerable adult.” 

Gutgsell was also charged in a different Nebraska county with stealing at least $96,400 from St. Joseph Church in Springfield, Nebraska, where the priest had served as a pastor. That charge was dropped in March 2022, after Gutgsell repaid his former parish the money.

While Gutgsell appears to have stolen more than $250,000 in total, the priest has insisted he did not keep the money for himself. 

Instead, according to charging documents, he gave the money to Michael Barrett, of no fixed abode, whom Gutgsell met in 2013, when the priest was pastor of Omaha’s cathedral.    

Gutgsell began in 2014 paying some bills for Barrett, whom he believed was “a very sick homeless individual in need of his assistance,” according to police reports. 

The priest apparently paid the homeless man roughly $700,000 between 2013 and 2021, according to charging documents, draining his own savings, and taking money from his parish and from Richling. Gutgsell told police he initially believed that Barrett was awaiting access to social security and disability funds, and needed support only to tide him over. He told police that he expected to be paid back for the money he gave Barrett. 

Gutgsell said he would give Barrett the money in cash dispersals, usually meeting in or near Gutgsell’s car parked in a downtown Omaha lot.

According to charging documents, Barrett is a fixture in casinos outside Omaha, and is usually seen in a suit and sunglasses.

Gutgsell told police repeatedly that he was not being blackmailed by Barrett.

Sioux City Iowa

Sioux City, Iowa, where Kierre Williams hails from, is a city in Woodbury and Plymouth counties in the northwestern part of the U.S. state of Iowa, according to Wikipedia.

The population was 85,797 in the 2020 census, making it the fourth-most populous city in Iowa.

The bulk of the city is in Woodbury County, of which it is the county seat, though a small portion is in Plymouth County. Sioux City is located at the navigational head of the Missouri River. 

The city is home to several cultural points of interest including the Sioux City Public Museum, Sioux City Art Center and Sergeant Floyd Monument, which is a National Historic Landmark. 

The city is also home to Chris Larsen Park, commonly referred to as “the Riverfront”, which includes the Anderson Dance Pavilion, Sergeant Floyd Riverboat Museum and Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. Sioux City is the primary city of the five-county Sioux City, IA–NE–SD Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), with a population of 149,940 in the 2020 census. 

The Sioux City–Vermillion, IA–NE–SD Combined Statistical Area had a population of 175,638 as of 2020.

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