AFTERMATH OF A
Byline: MILLICENT ROTHROCK Staff Writer
The death of Patricia Blakley Kimble was one of Guilford County's
most shocking slayings. Meanwhile, the search for justice in her
case has torn apart two families.
Patricia Blakley Kimble loved her husband. She adored him from
almost the moment she met him.
And Ted Kimble has said publicly that he loved his wife.
Guilford County investigators don't believe him. They say a man in
love with his wife would not pay his brother to shoot her in the
back of the head and cover the crime with a fire.
Eighteen months after that fateful Monday night fire, Patricia
Kimble is dead, and her husband and brother-in-law are in jail. Ted
and Ronnie Kimble have been charged with first-degree murder in her
The Blakley and Kimble families are devastated.
Richard Blakley and Sheila Blakley still ache to hug their daughter.
The Rev. Ron Kimble and his wife, Edna, watched in horror as their
only two children were jailed in the heinous crime, Pleasant
Garden's first homicide in recent history.
Their nightmare began Oct. 9, 1995.
On the night his sister died, Reuben Blakley called 911. Ted Kimble,
who was working at his second job at Precision Fabrics, had called
Blakley earlier and said that Patricia wasn't answering their phone,
and she was supposed to be home.
That afternoon, Patricia, 28, left her job as an apartment complex
manager early to work in the yard and then to attend a prayer
meeting at her church.
After speaking with Ted Kimble, Blakley drove to the gray, wooden
house on Brandon Station Road. What he saw shot a shiver of fear
through him. Smoke poured out of vents near the roof. His sister's
car was in the driveway, but he couldn't find her.
His call for help came in to the Pleasant Garden Fire Station about
When they arrived a few minutes later, firefighters had trouble
fighting the fire that was so hot they couldn't get close to it at
first. Patricia's body had slipped through the charred hallway
floor. The firefighters found her after falling into the hole and on
top of her body.
"The fire started where her body was found," Deputy Fire Chief Dale
Marley said. "It was a real puzzle for us because of the heat
buildup. They could only get 8 or 10 feet inside the door. It was so
dang hot in there it was beating them to death."
The only structural damage was in the hallway. Other rooms of the
seven-room house had smoke and heat damage.
"The fire damage was mostly on that spot," Marley said. "It had to
be a real hot fire."
Reuben Blakley's wife brought Patricia's father to the fire. Richard
Blakley used to be a Pleasant Garden firefighter. He said he could
tell by the way everyone was acting that there was a victim. And it
was probably his daughter.
Hours later, detectives made an even more gruesome discovery: Fire
did not kill Patricia Kimble - a bullet did.
A .45-caliber Glock handgun was found in a bedroom about 8 feet from
where Patricia's body had fallen through the floor. Guilford County
Sheriff BJ Barnes said the murder weapon is believed to be a
.45-caliber handgun, but he would not confirm that the pistol found
near Patricia is the one used to kill her.
When she died, Patricia Kimble had been married less than two years.
But she had loved Ted Kimble for much longer.
Ted Kimble and Patricia Blakley met sometime in 1990 through Janet
Blakley, Patricia's cousin who was dating Ted at the time. She
introduced them at South Elm Street Baptist Church, where Patricia
was a member.
"Patricia, ever since I knew her, loved Ted," said Gary Lyles, who
employed Ted for years and eventually sold him his business - Lyles
Surplus Building Materials. "I never knew anyone who loved anyone
any more than she loved Ted. She watched him all the time."
Patricia, who possessed an impressive work ethic, had trouble
keeping still. Friends and family say she was neat, organized,
responsible, kind and deeply religious.
By the time she was 16, she had enough money to buy a 1975 Mustang
and pay for the insurance as well.
"She paid for every penny," her father said.
After graduating from Southeast High School in 1985, Patricia
attended UNCG while working third shift at Big Star as a stocking
clerk. Her parents said that management wanted her to keep the books
or work a cash register - she had a terrific head for numbers - but
she declined. Stocking shelves required constant movement and suited
her personality better.
She often worked two jobs.
"She just had to stay busy," Richard Blakley said.
After Big Star closed, Patricia took a job in apartment complex
management, eventually working several years at Cinnamon Ridge
By the time she was 23, she owned her own house - a gray home that
sits alone at the end of Brandon Station Road in southern Guilford
Patricia's parents are reluctant to talk about their daughter. The
pain of her death is still fresh in their hearts. They declined to
comment on the Kimble brothers and the case.
"The sheriff's department and district attorney have advised us not
to talk about the case and that is pretty much what we are doing,"
Richard Blakley said. "They don't want to destroy their case before
it goes to trial."
Ted Kimble also is described by friends and family as a hard worker
who has a difficult time sitting still. When he was about 15, he
started working for Lyles, who eventually came to look upon him as a
Ted and Ronnie Kimble, who are in jail without bond, declined to be
interviewed for this story. Before his arrest, Ted Kimble publicly
denied any involvement in his wife's death.
According to Ron and Edna Kimble, their oldest son, Ted, is quieter
than his younger brother, who is talkative and more outgoing. Both
sons were raised to have good manners, their parents said.
And it shows. Instead of responding with the standard "I do," as he
swore on a Bible during a court hearing recently, Ronnie Kimble
looked the clerk in the eyes and said, "Yes, ma'am, I do."
Ronnie Kimble, who was serving in the Marine Corps when arrested
April 1, is lean and muscular with chiseled cheeks and a bright
smile. Ted Kimble, a bit stockier than his brother, has piercing
green eyes and a charming personality.
Their parents say the two brothers are close, but not close enough
to plot a murder.
"They love each other to death," Ron Kimble said. "But they are not
close enough to ever do anything like this. They've never been able
to work together well."
Ted Kimble spent his entire working career at Lyles Building
Supplies. An athletic man, Kimble could build an entire house from
the ground up if he had to, said Gary Lyles, who knew Patricia
Kimble and both Kimble brothers.
Lyles always thought that Patricia would be perfect for Ted, who
dated Janet Blakley on and off for three years. When they were
"off," Ted often went out with Patricia, who had become his best
friend, Lyles said.
Lyles saw how much Patricia cared for Ted and liked the idea of the
two getting together. Lyles encouraged Patricia when she went to him
with the idea of attending modeling school. She didn't date much and
wanted some input on how to present herself and how to dress more
stylishly, Lyles said.
"I thought she would have been great for him," he said. "She was
level-headed, sensible and managed her money well."
Lyles was looking to retire and wanted to sell his business to Ted.
But he wanted Ted married first.
"I would not have sold him the business if he had not married
someone sensible, preferably her," he said. "But I did not indicate
that to him."
In October 1993, Ted and Janet broke up for good after he asked her
to marry him. Blakley declined, opting to finish college first.
Janet Blakley said that Ted Kimble suggested they marry in secret so
her parents would continue to pay for her education, but she said
A month later, on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, Ted Kimble and
Patricia Blakley's engagement was announced at South Elm Street
"He and Pat became the best of friends when he dated Janet," Ron
Kimble said. "Then, one day, Ted realized he was more in love with
Pat than with the other girl."
One month after that - Dec. 21, 1993 - Ted and Patricia married
secretly in Danville, Va., with Ted's parents serving as witnesses.
Lyles and the Kimbles said that the couple married quickly because
they were planning a trip and wanted to travel as man and wife.
"They wanted to be married, and I was happy for them. I was happy
they shared it with us," Ron Kimble said. Edna Kimble said her son
cried during his wedding and that Patricia reached up and wiped the
tears from his face.
Patricia Kimble told her mother about her marriage a few weeks
later. Her father and friends did not find out about the civil
ceremony until after Patricia died.
They married secretly because Patricia Kimble wanted to have a
church wedding later, which took place in May 1994. For six months,
the couple managed to keep their civil marriage secret; He would
leave her house early in the mornings and go to his parents' house.
Richard Blakley said he does not know why his daughter never told
him about her early marriage, but that she loved Ted so much, he
would have supported her decision.
After Ted and Patricia Kimble married, Lyles offered Ted the
business at a reduced price. Lyles said the payment plan called for
the business to be paid for in five years.
Less than two years later, Patricia Kimble was dead.
Lyles said he thought that Patricia and Ted Kimble were happily
married until a couple of weeks before she died. He would not
elaborate, but he said Patricia never told him that she feared for
her safety. Lyles planned to talk with Ted Kimble about his concerns
at a marriage retreat the two couples were to attend the weekend
after Patricia died.
The Kimbles say they believe Patricia walked in on a burglary. The
home had been burglarized twice before. They said that items had
been stacked by a bedroom door as if someone had been preparing to
take them. The first thing Patricia would have done when she came
home was walk down the hall to her bedroom and let her puppy out of
the bathroom, where it stayed during the day, the Kimbles said.
Patricia Kimble never made it to the dog, which died in the fire.
According to the Kimbles, Ted Kimble was a suspect in Patricia's
death from almost the moment detectives realized they were
investigating a homicide. They said that both sons have alibis - Ted
was at work, and Ronnie was with his in-laws and his wife at the
time in question.
The Kimbles claim that detectives zeroed in on Ted, ignoring other
possible suspects - like the workers who installed a cabinet in the
Kimble home weeks before the murder and a suspicious man who they
say showed up at the burned-out house a few days after the fire. The
Kimbles also say detectives did not investigate jewelry that was
missing from the house after the fire.
Investigators say they checked out every piece of information given
to them about the case.
Eventually, the Kimbles quit talking with detectives on the advice
of an attorney. They said they cut off communication with
investigators when they realized that Ted was a suspect.
That lack of cooperation extended the investigation, according to
"This is an old story to us," Barnes said. "They said we were
harassing them. We offered to meet them any time, anywhere, any
place, and they could pick the attorneys. They refused to make it
happen. We even involved the SBI in this case because they would not
cooperate with us and we thought they might cooperate with them.
"We tried every way we could to accommodate them and we got
nothing," the sheriff said. "We got no cooperation from the family."
Barnes has said that more charges could be filed in the case. Those
charges would pertain to insurance money and allegedly stolen
building materials officials found during a search of Ted Kimble's
business, Barnes said.
The Kimbles likely will be tried separately. The trials are probably
at least a year away, officials said.
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