DEFENDANT DENIED BOND IN GUILFORD MURDER CASE
Byline: MILLICENT ROTHROCK Staff Writer
A judge denies bond for Ronnie Kimble, who is accused of the
"contract killing" of his sister-in-law.
A Guilford County judge dealt a double blow to murder defendant
Ronnie Kimble by ruling Thursday that Kimble's case may be tried as
a death penalty case and then denying him bond.
Kimble, along with his brother Ted Kimble, is accused of killing Ted
Kimble's wife and then setting a fire to cover up the crime.
Patricia Blakely Kimble's body was found in the hallway of her
burned Pleasant Garden home on Oct. 9, 1995.
Authorities said the 28-year-old woman had been shot once in the
head before the house was set on fire.
There were no arrests in the case for 18 months.
On April 1, the Guilford County Sheriff's Department charged Ted and
Thursday's two-hour hearing offered a glimpse at the prosecution's
case against the Kimble brothers. Officials said the case includes
insurance fraud, threatened detectives and scared witnesses.
Prosecutor Dick Panosh told the court that weeks before Patricia
Kimble's death, her husband forged her name on a $200,000 insurance
After the hearing, Panosh said Ted Kimble filed a claim for the
insurance two days after his wife died in October 1995.
Panosh called the homicide a "contract killing."
Detective Jim Church of the Guilford County Sheriff's Department
testified that during his investigation into the homicide, someone
threatened his life.
Church said that three prosecution witnesses have expressed fear for
their lives for cooperating with authorities.
Defending his client, attorney Jack Hatfield called Church's
comments "propaganda," and said that Church should have to back up
his statements with names and evidence.
"I do not believe the court should give credit to the assertions
that he (Church) knows people who are afraid," Hatfield said.
"There's no way those opinions can be tested to see if they are well
founded," he added.
Judge Peter McHugh said that the bond hearing was not a
"fact-finding expedition" and was not the appropriate forum to
substantiate either side's contentions.
Hatfield said there is no evidence that Ronnie and Ted Kimble acted
together or that Ronnie Kimble knew about the insurance policy.
Regarding the insurance policy, Hatfield said it may be true that
there is some evidence that Ted Kimble may have signed his wife's
name to a policy and that Patricia Kimble was shocked to learn about
However, Hatfield said, the couple had previously discussed taking
out insurance coverage and Patricia "was OK with it (his signing her
name) once she talked with Ted."
Five of the 40 Kimble supporters at the hearing spoke on Ronnie
Kimble's behalf - calling him dependable, honest and emotionally
During the hearing, Ronnie Kimble, dressed in khaki pants and a pale
blue shirt, smiled, waved and winked at his supporters.
When the judge denied him bond, he and his wife looked at one
another and cried.
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