Friday, July 18, 2008

The Hate Motivated Murder of Carol Jenkins

R.I.P., Carol.

Hat tip from Ann. Thanks!
Suspect dies before trial in 1968 Martinsville stabbing

On Sept. 16, 1968, a young black woman selling encyclopedias was brutally stabbed to death in the town of Martinsville.

For more than 34 years the murder of Carol Marie Jenkins remained unsolved.

But on May 8, 2002, police arrested Kenneth C. Richmond, a 70-year-old career criminal with a history of bizarre behavior and affiliation with groups such as the Ku Klux Klan.

Investigators said Richmond was implicated in the crime by his daughter, Shirley Richmond McQueen, who witnessed the slaying as a child.

State police detectives, working in a “cold crimes” squad, were led to McQueen by an anonymous letter. When questioned, they said, she finally confirmed what the letter alleged — that as a 7-year-old, she had watched from the back seat of a car as her father and another, still-unidentified man killed Jenkins.

Kenneth C. Richmond shown at left in a 1985 booking photo and at right after his arreest in 2002.
Detectives said they were convinced of McQueen’s story in part because she remembered a key detail which had never been made public — that Jenkins was wearing a yellow scarf.

McQueen, by then 40, reportedly gave Indiana State Police detectives the following account: Jenkins began to flee when she saw the two men running at her. The other man held Jenkins while Richmond grabbed a screwdriver from the front seat in their car and stabbed her, McQueen said she still recalls what her father said when he returned to the car: “She got what she deserved.” When they got home, her father gave her $7 — one dollar for each year of her life — to keep quiet about what she had seen.

Residents of Martinsville were relieved that the suspect in the case had not been a Martinsville resident. At the time of the killing, Richmond lived on a Hendricks County farm and was just passing through Martinsville on the night Carol Jenkins died. Martinsville’s racist reputation was largely based on the Jenkins slaying, though there had been other racial incidents.

But Richmond never went to trial for Jenkin’s murder. He was declared incompetent to stand trial and on Aug. 31, 2002 he died of cancer.


That hateful comment “She got what she deserved” is just a chilling as the comment uttered by the men in S.C. two years ago. The only difference is that the latter are about to face trial, while the animal back in Indiana died six years ago soon after his arrest. Not only was the animal wasn’t tried until after 2000, but the whole city of Martinsville cover up the murder, letting him get away with it. The police never tried to find the suspect at all.
This degradation of Black women, past and present, must be brought up.



I have decide to add to her comment with a timeline on Ms. Jenkins’s murder, that she too, may not be forgotten like so many murdered and destroyed black women in America.



Woman accuses dad in case that marked Martinsville as racist.

Accused: Kenneth C. Richmond, who lives in an Indianapolis nursing home, is led into the Morgan County Courthouse for his initial court appearance on a murder charge. His daughter says Richmond stabbed Carol Jenkins with a screwdriver in downtown Martinsville in 1968. Mike Fender / staff photo
By Bruce C. Smith
Published: May 09, 2002
The Indianapolis Star
MARTINSVILLE, Ind. — A long-held childhood secret might have finally solved the mystery that troubled this community for almost 34 years.
Police say they found the man who killed Carol Jenkins living in an Indianapolis nursing home, implicated by a daughter who described seeing the crime as a 7-year-old from the back seat of a car.

Kenneth C. Richmond, now 70, looked frail and said nothing Wednesday afternoon as he was arrested and taken in shackles into the Morgan County Courthouse. A plea of not guilty to one count of first-degree murder was entered on his behalf. He was held without bond.

Leaders of the Morgan County city, haunted for decades by charges of racism and foot-dragging in the investigation of Jenkins’ slaying, saw vindication in Richmond’s arrest.

“I’m so glad that the guy who did this is not from Martinsville,” said Martinsville City Councilman Harold Stanger. “We’ve had kind of a bad reputation with black people. . . . I’m so glad this is over with.”

Investigators say the story began as Richmond — who was living on a Hendricks County farm, according to court documents — drove through Martinsville on the night of Sept. 16, 1968.

His daughter, Shirley Richmond McQueen, said her father and another man were drunk and filled with racial hatred.

After a silence of more than three decades, she told police she saw her father plunge a screwdriver into the 21-year-old woman’s chest and leave her to die on a rainy sidewalk.

Police said they questioned several other suspects in the years since, all of whom were eventually cleared. Recent efforts at DNA comparisons proved nothing.

But continued publicity stirred the memories and conscience of Richmond’s relatives and prompted them to write an anonymous letter to police in November 2001. It named the former factory worker and farmhand as a suspect.

Another participant in the crime hasn’t been identified.

Moment of relief: Paul Davis, Carol Jenkins’ stepfather, hugs daughter Pat Howard after a news conference announcing an arrest in the slaying. Mike Fender / staff photo
McQueen, now 40, told Indiana State Police detectives that Jenkins began to flee when she saw the two men running at her. The other man held Jenkins while Richmond grabbed a screwdriver from the front seat in their car and stabbed her, according to an affidavit.

McQueen told police she still recalls what her father said when he returned to the car: “She got what she deserved.”

As the men drove away after the killing, McQueen told police, she saw the victim fall, landing on the grass and sidewalk next to a bush.

McQueen said the woman was carrying a suitcase or box, had a scarf around her neck and wore black-frame glasses.

The details, reported by detectives in reports filed in Morgan Superior Court, match evidence from the crime scene on East Morgan Street.

But court-appointed defense attorney Steve Litz said the prosecutor’s case rests on the memories of a child, without the murder weapon or other physical evidence.

Morgan County Prosecutor Steve Sonnega agreed it would not be easy to rely on the eyewitness account of someone so young at the time.

“Obviously,” he said, “you have to build one brick at a time. Why did it take 30-odd years?

A 7-year-old had to grow up, to mature and to have the guts to come forward.”

Jenkins’ family was relieved by the arrest.

“At least I know that my daughter can rest in peace,” said Paul Davis. “I just felt like she was always saying, ‘Daddy, why couldn’t you find out who did it?’ “

Martinsville Mayor Shannon Buskirk and Indiana State Police Superintendent Melvin Carraway said the killing is now thought to have been a chance encounter between strangers — an Indianapolis-area man with a history of violence and a young woman from Rushville working in Martinsville for the day.

They said the arrest should help clear away the insinuations of racism and sloppy police work that have hung over the community for the three decades that the crime has gone unsolved.

“It was a good day for the city of Martinsville,” Buskirk said. “This has attached itself to the city, and it definitely hurt.”



Richmond acquitted of murder, found not guilty of attempted murder due to insanity in ’80s cases.

By Diana Penner
Published: May 09, 2002

For more than three decades, the slaying of 21-year-old Carol Jenkins was a mystery. Now the man accused of killing her is largely an enigma.

Kenneth C. Richmond, now 70, has faced charges of murder and attempted murder.

According to a court document, in 1985, Richmond was acquitted of murder in an Owen County case. In 1987, he was accused of attempted murder and found not guilty by reason of insanity in Florida. He was fixated upon castrating himself and eventually succeeded. He has had mental health and alcohol problems and was involved with the Ku Klux Klan.

Any information about Richmond comes from the court documents; so far, no one who knows him has filled in the gaps by talking about him.

On Sept. 16, 1968, Richmond is accused of being an angry drunk filled with racial hatred who happened to be motoring through Martinsville when he saw a young black woman walking down a street.

That was enough, according to the accusations, to spur Richmond to harass the young woman, spin the car around and, with the help of an unidentified male companion, plunge a screwdriver into her heart.

In the back seat of the car, witnessing the scene, was Richmond’s 7-year-old daughter, Shirley. She said that when they got home, he gave her $7 — one dollar for each year of her life — to keep quiet about what she had seen.

“He said, ‘It was our secret.’ She had not seen her father for 24 years until she visited him three months ago,” according to a court document filed as Richmond was charged.

Not much is known about Richmond and his life for the past 33 years, beyond the few details contained in the probable cause affidavit filed Wednesday. Little was revealed in it about his work history, but a brother told investigators that in September 1968 — the month of Jenkins’ slaying — Richmond worked and lived at the Cash Bottema farming operation in Hendricks County. That’s about 19 miles from Martinsville.

That document also says that from 1954 to 1979, he was married to Ruby Richmond Welch. She declined an interview with The Star but told investigators Richmond abused her and their children and would be violent when he got drunk. Once, she said, he stabbed her.

“She stated that he hated black people in the 1960s,” the affidavit says. “Furthermore, he was always fixated about castrating himself.”

He asked his wife to castrate him, telling her the act would “tame him.” In the mid-1970s, Richmond managed a partial castration; he completed the procedure in 1982.

His half sister, Linnie Shields, told investigators Richmond sent her threatening letters with razor blades in them before she testified against him in the 1985 Owen County murder case. She also declined to speak to a reporter Wednesday.

Richmond was admitted at various times for “self-mutilation and intoxication, including one incident in August 2000, where he attacked a police officer with a knife,” the court document says. There was no information about where that incident took place.

Wednesday, Monrovia attorney Steve Litz was appointed to represent Richmond. Until then, Litz said, he knew about as much about the case as anyone else who might have read newspaper accounts.

Litz said he had had about an hour to speak with his client and didn’t yet know much about his life, such as where he had worked over the years. For about the past year, Richmond has lived at a health care facility, apparently because of mental health problems, Litz said.

He has advised Richmond not to talk to anyone about the case, he said.

So far, Richmond appears to be coping, Litz said.

“I think he’s scared and concerned, which I would imagine are fairly common feelings for anybody who’s been charged with murder, much less anybody who’s 70 years old,” he said.



By Diana Penner
Published: May 09, 2002
The Indianapolis Star
As a teen-ager, Carol Jenkins wanted to move to Chicago and become a fashion model.

The woman’s life, and her dreams, were cut short when she was stabbed to death in Martinsville in 1968.

Instead of a life filled with glamour and beauty, Jenkins’ death became a symbol of violence and ugliness.

Racism, many believed, was the only logical motive. The 21-year-old black woman, pretty and shy, wasn’t robbed or sexually assaulted.

Investigators say racial hatred was indeed the motive. But the man accused of the crime was apparently just passing through, an interloper who solidified the Morgan County city’s reputation as a place where black people were not welcome.

Jenkins was knocking on doors in Martinsville on Sept. 16, 1968, as she and three co-workers — two white men and a 19-year-old black woman — tried to sell encyclopedias. The women were aware of the potential dangers; they had considered buying tear gas guns, according to a newspaper article days after the slaying.

The encyclopedia gig was a fill-in job for Jenkins; she worked full time at the Philco Division of Ford Motor Co., but the plant was idled by a strike.

A 1965 graduate of Rushville High School, Jenkins grew up calling her stepfather “Daddy.”

She was a toddler when Paul Davis married her mother, and she grew up with five half siblings in a close-knit family.

She was shy and polite, Davis has said.

The night she was slain, some men in a car began harassing her. She sought help at the home of Norma and Don Neal, and Norma Neal tried to help Jenkins by driving her around to find her co-workers. When they couldn’t locate them, Jenkins ended up back at the home, and the woman offered to drive Jenkins to her rendezvous spot.

But Jenkins declined, saying she had been a bother long enough.

“That sounds like her,” Davis told The New Yorker magazine in its Jan. 7 issue. “I always felt like she was a very sweet, sort of naive girl. She had a smile for everybody.

“Carol didn’t like imposing on anybody.”



Carol Jenkins, known as a neat dresser, was wearing a yellow scarf when she was killed.

By Bruce C. Smith
Published: May 12, 2002
The Indianapolis Star
MARTINSVILLE, Ind. — It was Shirley Richmond McQueen’s secret that led detectives to the long-awaited arrest of a suspect in this city’s most notorious killing.

But the Indiana State Police had a secret of their own, and it was key to persuading them that they finally had found the man who stabbed Carol Marie Jenkins on a Martinsville street in September 1968.

Though she was selling encyclopedias door-to-door on a rainy night, the 21-year-old was impeccably dressed. Accounts of the crime routinely mentioned the white cotton turtleneck, olive green wool slacks and brown jacket with a mandarin collar that buttoned in front.

But the yellow scarf found around Jenkins’ neck was something never divulged by the federal, state and local authorities who investigated her death over three decades.

“She was always a neat dresser,” said Jenkins’ stepfather, Paul Davis. “And she wore a lot of scarves.”

The arrest of Kenneth C. Richmond, a 70-year-old resident of an Indianapolis nursing home, brought consolation to Davis and other relatives seeking justice for the cruelty of Jenkins’ slaying.

Martinsville leaders also hoped for vindication in Richmond’s arrest on Wednesday, saying it finally might put to an end the charges of racism and foot-dragging in the local police investigation of the killing.

But for the Indiana State Police, it showed that even the coldest of trails might lead to an arrest.

“Let’s not lose sight that this young lady was murdered 33 years ago, and her family has experienced a lot of pain in not knowing what happened to her,” Indiana State Police Superintendent Melvin Carraway said.

Two years ago, Davis had doubts that his stepdaughter’s killer would find justice. In frustration, he hired a former State Police detective working as a private detective.

About the same time, Carraway assigned the Jenkins case to veteran detectives Maurice “Bud” Allcron and Alan McElroy, part of a cold-case unit formed to renew investigations that have lost momentum.

“I read the summaries of these murders that can be lost in the files,” Carraway said, “and I think what the families must be going through.

“Sometimes I get calls from those families, asking for help. So we have to commit the resources or publicity to find the answers.”

About a year after the renewed investigation, one answer came in an anonymous letter, urging investigators toward Richmond, a career criminal with a history of bizarre behavior and affiliation with groups such as the Ku Klux Klan.

It eventually led Allcron and McElroy to Shirley McQueen, a 40-year-old woman who finally confirmed what the letter alleged — that as a 7-year-old, she had watched from the back seat of a car as her father and another, still-unidentified man killed Jenkins.

She offered key details of what she saw — including the scarf.

That made the crucial difference between McQueen’s story and all the others that Jenkins’ family and the police investigating her death had heard.

Her surviving relatives sometimes received anonymous claims of “witnesses” to the killing, or knowledge of the killers’ identity.

Detectives found one woman who had called Davis only to determine that her information was secondhand.

Another tipster told the family that the murder weapon had been dropped into a buried gasoline tank not far from where Jenkins’ body was found on East Morgan Street.

The fuel tank was excavated, and authorities found a chisel inside. Police immediately said it was not the murder weapon.

Allcron and McElroy interviewed about 150 people, painstakingly eliminating various suspects identified in calls to Davis and other relatives. By last summer, speculation had begun to center again on a former suspect now living in Florida.

Upon learning that, a woman named Connie McQueen sent the letter implicating Richmond.
In December, when detectives finally tracked down the anonymous writer, she said her former sister-in-law, Shirley McQueen, had told family members that she saw her father kill a black woman — an account that Shirley McQueen eventually confirmed.

She remembered, according to police reports, that “the lady was carrying an item that resembled a suitcase or box. She was wearing a scarf around her neck and had black framed glasses.”

Shirley McQueen told investigators that when she and her father got home that night in September 1968, he gave her $7 not to say anything about what had happened.

His admonition: “It was our secret.”

1 comment:

Unknown said...

that coward died a million times before he actually died.


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