After More Than A Decade Behind Bars, Jury Deliberating New Verdict For Once-Convicted Killer

MGN Online

A decades-old murder case has gotten another another look--and the man who spent more than a decade behind bars as the purported killer could receive a new verdict.

The jury in Tim Kennedy's re-trial has begun deliberations. A verdict could come down as early as Tuesday.

In 1991, 37-year-old Steve Staskiewicz and Staskiewicz's 15-year-old girlfriend Jennifer Carpenter were shot execution-style in a home in Old Colorado City. Kennedy was arrested five years after the murders and sentenced to life in prison. For 13 years, it seemed like an open and shut case.

But in 2009, new evidence brought Kennedy's guilt into question. First, a letter, written by a convicted criminal suggesting a successful cover-up in the double-murder. One of Kennedy's lawyers called it a "credible letter," and said it essentially amounted to a confession. The author of the letter, Charles Stroud, admitted in court to penning it.

DNA evidence--which was not sent to a forensics lab until 2008--also raised serious doubts that Kennedy was the killer. In the late 90s when Kennedy was convicted, investigators were just starting to use skin cell DNA evidence, so it wasn't used in Kennedy's trial. Results from the forensics lab a decade later revealed that Kennedy's DNA was never found at the crime scene.

An El Paso County judge ordered a new trial, and Kennedy was released on bond.

"It's been a nightmare, it's been a nightmare," he told 11 News at the time. "I've had to fight for a lot of things and fight for myself...I've been wrongfully convicted of two counts of first degree murder."

Last month, five years after Kennedy was released, his re-trial began. In the new trial, prosecutors argued that Kennedy was a drug user at the time of the murder, and had become increasingly paranoid and aggressive. They also showed the jury evidence from the crime scene, and said the murders were an execution.

Defense attorneys argued Kennedy and the victim were like brothers.

We will update this story once a verdict is reached.