First Television Interview: Once Convicted Killer Could Be A Free Man

By: Lauri Martin Email
By: Lauri Martin Email

"I'm Tim Kennedy and I've been in prison for 13 going on 14 years," he tells 11 News in his first television interview from a prison in Limon, Colorado.

Fourteen years after Tim Kennedy was convicted of murder, an El Paso County judge has ordered a new trial. That was unbelieveable news for a man who has said from the very beginning that he is innocent.

"It's been a nightmare, it's been a nightmare. I've had to fight for a lot of things and fight for myself."

In 1997, Kennedy was sentenced to life behind bars for the murders of his good friends, 37-year-old Steve Staskiewicz and his much younger girlfriend, 15-year-old Jennifer Carpenter. They were killed in their home in Old Colorado City, shot-to-death with Tim Kennedy's gun.

“They (Jennifer Carpenter and Steve Staskiewicz) told me several times they had contracts out on their life so I tried to do what I could to help them. I gave them some guns to protect themselves."

According to court documents, the couple feared for their lives. Jenny was a victim and key witness in a pending kidnapping and sex assault case. The suspects in that case reportedly had arranged for the couple to be killed.

In newly revealed evidence, a letter written by one suspect to another says “everything is covered.” “This is a credible letter, a confession basically. It got to the D.A.'s office and they had it in 1991," said Kathleen Carlson. She’s one of Kennedy’s lawyers along with John Dicke.

That letter was written by Charles Stroud, a now-convicted criminal who recently admitted in court to writing that letter. But, for some reason, the jury in Kennedy's 1997 trial was never told about that letter. Dicke and Carlson say it could have cleared Kennedy’s name.

More evidence is now surfacing.

When Kennedy was convicted, investigators were just starting to use skin cell DNA evidence. It wasn't used in Kennedy's case. Last year though, the evidence containing DNA was finally sent to a lab. Forensics experts tested the all of the victims' clothing looking for Kennedy’s DNA at the crime scene. In their report, they note Kennedy’s DNA was never found.

When I asked his attorney if she thought that just because his DNA wasn’t at the scene of the crime, does it completely exonerate him? What if he had gloves on or what if there was an accomplice who was the triggerman? "Certainly, you could make the argument that Mr. Kennedy was involved, but there is no motive here. These were his friends," said Carlson.

“I’ve been wrongfully convicted of two counts of first degree murder,” said Kennedy.

On April 21, 2009, the same El Paso County judge who presided over his first trial decided Tim Kennedy deserves a new one. You could've knocked me over. It was like… such a relief that finally I could stand up in court with this case and defend myself. It’s something I’ve never been able to do, never," said Kennedy.

11 News has been calling the 4th Judicial District Attorney's office in El Paso County about this case for the past few weeks. We just got a call back from Dan May. He says he won't comment on this case until we go to court next Tuesday.

What happens if the prosecutors decide not to go for another trial? They will likely have to drop the charges, which means Kennedy could be a free man.

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  • by Judy Location: Lakewood on May 23, 2009 at 12:07 PM
    Do you know if they have checked the DNA of those who had made death threats?
  • by Bill Location: Colorado Springs on May 21, 2009 at 05:47 PM
    Kudos for covering this story. Please update us when you find out why the original investigation skipped over those who had motive and made death threats. If the DA continues to stonewall after the hearing, please push him on it.
  • by ForensicFascination Location: Colorado Springs on May 21, 2009 at 01:13 PM
    According to a forensic-based tv "reality" show, statistics show that as many as FOURTY PERCENT (40%) of cases where circumstantial convictions were obtained prior to modern-day forensic science may be invalidated with DNA evidence. That's a lot of lives ruined, and a lot of horrific criminals running around free because they simply weren't identified. @ Judy: Exactly... if they're going to let this guy go, do they have someone else in mind to charge for the crime?
  • by Judy Location: Lakewood on May 21, 2009 at 10:21 AM
    WHOSE DNA did they find? Has it been run through the system to find potential matches or are they just sitting on it?
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