On Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019, at approximately 5:24 P.M., Redding Police Officers responded to 3710 Bechelli Lane regarding a 911 call where the reporting party said there was a male at that address who was “bloody, cut up, and dying”. Officers arrived and located a male victim down in a shed. The male was obviously deceased and had visible wounds indicating he had been the victim of a violent attack.
Redding Police Department Investigators responded to the scene and assumed the investigation. Investigators began interviewing witnesses, collecting evidence, and canvassing nearby neighborhoods and businesses for surveillance video. Investigators determined that the victim was likely killed sometime during the early morning hours on July 23rd, but his death was not noticed or reported until the early evening hours when the 911 call was made.
Several hours into the investigation, Investigators learned that the victim, 37-year-old Steven Michael Johnson of Redding, was possibly last seen in the company of 26-year-old Christopher Eugene McHatton, also of Redding. McHatton had been seen by witnesses at the 3710 Bechelli residence. Although most of the residents and visitors had remained at the residence or contacted police, McHatton was nowhere to be found. Investigators conducted records checks on McHatton and found that he was on Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS) and had an address in the 2700 block of Henderson Road, which was not far from the crime scene. An investigator checked the address and observed McHatton sitting on a couch watching television.
On July 24th, 2019 at approximately 3:00 A.M., Investigators attempted to make contact with McHatton at the residence but he refused to come out. McHatton ultimately surrendered after several minutes of being hailed by a police loud speaker. Investigators attempted to interview McHatton but he refused to speak with them. McHatton was booked into the Shasta County Jail for a violation of his Post Release Community Supervision terms.
Soon after McHatton’s arrest, Investigators learned the location of his vehicle, which was not parked at his residence, but at a residence nearby. Investigators examined the vehicle from the outside and found what appeared to be bloodstains on the interior and exterior of the vehicle. Evidence of hasty attempts to clean the vehicle were also located.
During a search of the vehicle, Investigators took swabs of the bloodstains that were inside of the vehicle. These initial swabs were sent to the California Department of Justice Labs for DNA analysis. The DNA results showed that the blood from McHatton’s vehicle was likely to have originated from victim Steven Johnson.
Investigators continued to work the case almost exclusively for the next 15 days. Witnesses were located during the investigation who also implicated McHatton’s mother, 48-year-old Kathleen McHatton of Redding, in attempting to cover up or destroy evidence of a crime, and impede law enforcement’s efforts to investigate the homicide. Kathleen McHatton was well known to all of the residents at 3710 Bechelli Lane, and reportedly was who introduced the victim and Chris McHatton to each other.
On Tuesday, August 6th, at approximately 9:26 A.M., Investigators looking for Kathleen McHatton located her in the 5100 block of Westside road in south Redding. Kathleen McHatton was arrested and interviewed regarding the homicide. She was later booked into the Shasta County Jail on charges of accessory to the murder of Steven Johnson. She is currently being held on $250,000 bail.
On Friday, August 9, 2019, the Shasta County District Attorney’s office filed murder charges on Christopher McHatton as a result of the investigation. Christopher McHatton is being held in the Shasta County Jail on $1,000,000 bail.
This investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is urged to contact Redding Police Investigations at 530-225-4200.