Death Row Diaries: Bloody Coke can links man to murder of business partner

Posted at 7:15 AM, Sep 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-18 10:15:29-04

Arizona’s most notorious death row inmates past and present have incredible stories, including David Gulbrandson who bound his business partner with electrical cords before killing her in 1991.



Date of Birth: December 30, 1944

 Sentenced: February 19, 1993

The Valentine's Day Assault:

On Valentine's Day 1991 Gulbrandson was drunk when he had an argument with his business partner and tried to strangle her. A mutual friend was able to get Gulbrandson off the victim and took him home.

I'm going to kill the business, I'm going to kill everything

An upset Gulbrandson told this friend, "I'm going to kill her. I'm going to kill the business, I'm going to kill everything." 

Gulbrandson and the victim were partners in a photography business called “Memory Makers.” They were also romantically involved until the victim asked Gulbrandson to move out of the place they were living in together in January of 1991.

Gulbrandson was afraid the victim would try and steal the business from under him. She was, however, planning on buying him out.

As a result of the Valentine's Day assault the victim took out and order of protection against Gulbrandson.

The Crime:

The victim returned from a business trip in Las Vegas on March 10th, the next morning, she’d be found dead.

The following morning her daughter went to go wake her, but the door was locked, which was odd. The daughter called her grandmother, who in turn, called police.

Police found her dead in the master bathroom and her car stolen.

Investigators found Gulbrandson's bloody fingerprint on a Coke can

When investigators arrived they found the victim bound with electrical cords from both a curling iron and a hair dryer around her arms and feet. They also found four blood-stained knives and a pair of scissors in the kitchen sink of the home.

Investigators were able to match a fingerprint found on a Coke can and a paper towel holder to Gulbrandson.

The autopsy report showed the victim suffered from 34 stab wounds, several broken ribs, and a fractured neck bone. They also found a prong from a fork embedded in one of her legs.

The Investigation:

Based on the Valentine's Day assault police immediately suspected Gulbrandson and conducted a search of his apartment the next day.

Police found bloody papers and a blood-stained jacket that contained a credit card belonging to the victim.

Witnesses told police they saw Gulbrandson gambling in Laughlin, Nevada on March 12th, the day after the murder. He was offered a free room at the casino after losing more than $1,100.

He was next spotted in Montana trying to sell the victim’s car. However, not being able to produce the license to the car, he was unable to do so. The car was found abandoned with Canadian license plates covering the original Arizona plates on April 1st.

Gulbrandson was located and arrested in Montana two days later.

His trial began on November 30, 1992; the jury found him guilty 15 days later, and he was sentenced to death on February 19, 1993.

Gulbrandson remains on Arizona death row.