Ted and Ronnie Kimble were wrongfully convicted of murdering Ted's wife, Patricia. Ted has exhausted all of his appeals, but Ronnie has not. They are in dire need of public assistance to prove their innocence. Please read our Plea for Help and provide whatever assistance you can.

Monday, January 23, 2012

American Justice: The Brothers Kimble

American Justice: The Brothers Kimble first aired on July 23, 2005.  Click here to read a summary of the show and to access clips that include statements by both Ted and Ronnie and also the chief witness against Ronnie, Mitch Whidden.

The following is the complete segment, which is 45 minutes long.

The Brothers Kimble raised some important issues, but some parts need clarification, correction, or rebuttal.  I include the short clips for convenience.

1.  At the very beginning, Richard Panosh, the DA who prosecuted both Ronnie and Ted, blatantly misrepresented reality when he said Patricia Kimble had "not one enemy, except Ted Kimble."  First, as The Brothers Kimble pointed out, Patricia's home had been burglarized twice.  The two burglars, Hunt and Styles, were cleared but this does demonstrate that her home was an easy target for burglars.  The firefighter Alan Fields notes that at the time of the fire, Ted's and Patricia's home was still the only home on Brandon Street Court, a rural area. Moreover, Patricia had evicted Sandra McNeil, who was very upset about the eviction, even to the point of saying she would kill Patricia.  Finally, Patricia had a secret admirer that may have turned into an enemy if he felt rejected.  This secret admirer knew Patricia had a dog, but says he did not even know her name.  After leaving work, Patricia spoke briefly to Barry Braswell at a stoplight at the intersection of Creek Ridge Road and Randleman Road.  Patricia was in the right lane and continued straight when the light turned green; she was headed into town.  No one came forward to explain where Patricia went. 

2.  Detective J.D. Church gives his reasons for concluding the crime scene was a "staged burglary" - Ted's Glock gun, alleged to be the murder weapon, was left on the floor in the bedroom and valuables in plain sight were left behind.  Church says the person who was in that home was there for only one reason, to kill Patricia.  Leaving the murder weapon behind and valuables in plain sight is not consistent with staging a burglary.  Church is not forming logical conclusions -- which is a good indication he is heavily under the influence of tunnel vision.

3.  Church says that Ted called Patricia from work and could not reach her, and then called her brother, Reuben, to ask him to go check on her.  Reuben is suspicious because he had never been asked to check on Patricia before and because of the urgency in Ted's voice.  Ted was concerned because Patricia planned to mow the lawn with their riding lawnmower and part of the yard is on a slope.  When he wasn't able to reach Patricia, he grew concerned that she had an accident while mowing the lawn.  Instead of being suspicous, Reuben should have been grateful that Ted was protective of Patricia. 

4.  In this clip, we see J. D. Church's rush to judgment - not based on evidence, but on a whim.  This is a classic example of how a rush to judgment becomes tunnel vision becomes a wrongful conviction.

5.  In this clip, Bill Kurtis explains that Patricia was shot in the head, doused with gasoline, and then set on fire.  J. D. Church estimated the crime occurred shortly after 4 p.m.  Kurtis explains that the fire smoldered 4 hours before it was discovered.  This narration really puts the best light on the State's case, as arson experts did not conclusively decide that the fire was started shortly after 4 p.m. (Time of Death).    Reuben Blakely reported the fire when he called 911 at 8:42 p.m.  Firefighters responded immediately, so the fire likely was out about 9:00 p.m.  The forensic pathologist determined that death resulted from the gunshot, but was otherwise unable to give a time of death.  Edward Rich (Supervisor, Fire Inspection and Investigation Unit, Guilford County Department of Emergency Services), estimated that the fire burned at least 2 to 3 hours, possibly longer.  That puts the start of the fire at 6:00-7:00, possibly earlier.  Jerry D. Webster (Special Agent, Arson and Fire investigation, State Bureau of Investigation) estimated that the fire burned in excess of 2 hours.  He does not offer the opinion that it could have burned as long as four hours until he is specifically asked by Prosecutor Richard Panosh.  6:00-6:30 is the range of time that neighbors reported seeing or smelling smoke in the vicinity of Patricia's home.  It's obvious that Church and Panosh ignored this evidence because from 4:15-4:50 is the only time that Ronnie could not produce an eye witness to confirm his whereabouts. Ronnie's alibi is that he was en route from Lyles Building Materials, where he had gone to get a saw, to his home, where he was working on installing underpinning around his mobile home.  At 4:50, his father-in-law arrived to help him, and reported that Ronnie already had a couple of panels in place.  In spite of the time it takes to drive from Lyles to Ronnie's home, and the time it takes to setup the project and put a couple panels in place, J. D. Church insists Ronnie had time to swing by Ted's home to kill Patricia and set the house on fire.  

6.  Church questioned the location of Patricia's car.  In this clip, he shows from the crime scene photos exactly where Patricia had parked her car and argued that because she pulled to the left side of the driveway, there must have been another car packed on the right side - a car with which she was familiar because due to the two previous burglaries, she would never have entered the house if the car had been unfamiliar.  Church reasons that once inside the house, she was ambushed.  Church fails to account for a very simple explanation for her car not only being parked on the left side of the drive, but also some distance from the garage (which did not yet have a garage door) -- she planned to mow the lawn, and in doing so, would need to drive the lawnmower out of the garage.  Church also failed acknowledge, in this clip, that at some point while in the house, Patricia picked up an 8-inch kitchen knife, which was subsequently found near her badly burned body.  If Ronnie's car was in the drive, it's unlikely that she would arm herself with an 8-inch kitchen knife. 

7.  J. D. Church mischaracterized Ted's desire to purchase the land Lyles Building Materials sat on and his interest in purchasing more insurance on Patricia.  Gary Lyles couldn't remember the exact date he sold Lyles' to Ted, but did say it was after the "legal ceremony" when Ted and Patricia were married. The legal ceremony took place during an elopement on December 21, 1993.  In March 1994, Lyles notified Robins & Weil, Inc., who managed the land Lyles' sat on, that he was selling the Construction business to Ted and that Ted would assume the current lease, which did not expire until March 31, 1997.  In February 1995, Ted contacted Robins & Weil to declare his intent to maintain the lease on the land and to inquire about purchasing the property.  He was told the owners had not interest in selling and was not quoted a price. So that was an outright lie by Church.  Ted did begin inquiries about more insurance, to bring the amount of Patricia's insurance, currently at $25,000, up to the amount of his insurance, at $100,000, but Patricia wasn't interested.  It wasn't until September 1995 that Ted intiated the $200,000 policy on Patricia.  The insurance policy was well removed in time from the inquiry into buying the land Lyles sat on, and had no relationship to it at all.  Church had no other evidence against Ted, and the purchase of the life insurance wasn't sufficient motive, so he had to invent a reason for Ted to need $200,000.  As far as Ted's efforts to collect on the life insurance 2 days after Patricia's death, that's what is expected -- he needed that life insurance to do what life insurance is expected to do, help cover the costs of an unexpected death.  That Ted didn't know that the life insurance policy wasn't in effect is exonerating -- if his motive for having Patricia killed was to collect on that insurance, surely he would have taken more care to ensure it had gone into effect. 

8.  The final point that must be corrected is Church's blanket statement that Ted's Glock gun was the murder weapon.  Church makes the point that Ted almost always carried that gun with him, but on that day he left it at home, allegedly so Ronnie would have a gun to use to kill Patricia.  This theory is unreasonable on so many levels that it doesn't even pass the giggle test.  But the best reason for rejecting it out of hand is that the SBI did not conclusively determine that the Glock was the murder weapon.  I quote directly from the report "The Q-1 bullet jacket has the same class characteristics and a few microscopic similarities to test bullets fired from the K-1 pistol. However, neither Q-1 nor the tests fired in K-1 possess sufficient microscopic detail needed to conclusively determine that they were fired in K-1."  The only way Church could convict Ronnie and Ted was to reach for the extreme range of time for the fire burn (time of death) and reach for the extreme range of possibility for the murder weapon.  This clip is comprised of three clips taken from various locations in the show.

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