The murders of Donna Fontaine and her boyfriend, Fred L. Palahniuk, by Dale Shackelford is spotlighted on A Killing In Kendrick on Investigation Discovery.
On May 29, 1999, police found the remains of Fontaine and Palahniuk near a wooded area at 2168 Three Bear Road in Latah County, Idaho, where Fontaine’s family were in the process of building a house.
An autopsy revealed that Fontaine, 45, an attorney, and her 59-year-old boyfriend, a retiree, died from several gunshot wounds.
Robert Cihak, a medical examiner, determined that Fontaine and Palahniuk were dead before they set ablaze.
Police learned through an investigation that in 1998, several months before Fontaine divorced Shackelford, Fontaine filed rape charges against him in Missouri, and he was facing 30 years in prison.
Shackelford then made several threats to harm his ex-wife if she didn’t drop the charges.
When she didn’t listen, officials said Shackelford ambushed the couple at Fontaine’s family’s property and shot them with Fontaine’s own shotgun and her .32-caliber handgun before setting them on fire.
Officers were only able to recover their torso, which was still engulfed in flames when they arrived. Their teeth, bone fragments, and skin were later found during a second search of the crime scene.
A week later, investigators found a spent shotgun shell that was buried about 25 yards from where Fontaine and her boyfriend were found.
In February 2000, Shackelford was arrested on two counts of first-degree murder and first-degree arson, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit arson, and preparing false evidence.
Following the end of his trial ten months later, a jury found him guilty of murdering Fontaine and Palahniuk.
Shackelford was initially sentenced to death, but it was later overturned, and a judge sentenced him to two consecutive life sentences without the chance of parole.
A Killing In Kendrick airs at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.