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DEFENDANT DENIED BOND IN GUILFORD MURDER CASE


 

(TRIAD/STATE)
Byline: MILLICENT ROTHROCK Staff Writer

A judge denies bond for Ronnie Kimble, who is accused of the "contract killing" of his sister-in-law.
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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 Ronnie Kimble.

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 policy.
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 it.

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 stable.

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.

COPYRIGHT 1997 News & Record

 

Published August 15, 2006.  Report broken links or other problems.

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