Opening Statement, For the State of North Carolina
MR. PANOSH: Thank you.
May it please the Court.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, on October the 9th of 1995, Patricia Gail Kimble was 28 years of age. She had just turned 28 in September of that year. She was born in Guilford County, grew up here, went to high school at Southeast High. After that, she went on to study at UNCG.
She quickly picked up several jobs, each of those jobs having more responsibilities or more rewards. She was a financially stable young lady. By 1990, she owned her own home. About 1990, she met Theodore Kimble, and they were friends for a period of time, for about 1990 to 1993. The evidence will indicate that in late 1993, they began to date. Shortly thereafter, they were engaged, and married the third week of December 1993. She was married for about 22 months at the time she was killed. The evidence will indicate that from all outward appearances, they had a normal, happy marriage.
On October the 9th of 1995, this was a Monday, Columbus Day, a holiday for some people, she went to her work at Cinnamon Ridge Apartments, where she was a manager. She planned to get off at 3:30, that she did get off at 3:30. She planned to return to her home and mow her lawn. And then after dinner, 6:30, 7:00 o'clock, she was going to her church, to attend classes at the South Elm Street Baptist Church.
Her home is a typical ranch home, three bedrooms, brick, and a two-car garage that was in the process of being added. It was on Brandon Station Court. It's off of Highway 22, southeast part of the county, a cul-de-sac which was fairly secluded, heavy trees, barely visible from the highway. Her home was the only home on that cul-de-sac.
Evidence will indicate that she went to her home, drove into the driveway. This was a two-car garage with a gravel driveway, plenty of room for two cars, the house being on the right. For some reason, she pulled all the way to the left. She got out of her car, entered through the kitchen door, and she came in through the garage. She left her keys in the ignition, car unlocked, purse open on the front seat.
The evidence indicates that she entered that kitchen door, went slightly through the living room and into the hallway, which gives access to the three bedrooms. She was going to that back bedroom, where her dog was penned up in the bathroom. That as she passed that first doorway on the left, which is a bathroom, a .45-caliber bullet struck her in the head, left side, went through her brain, and lodged here, near her ear. (Indicated.) She fell to the floor. The evidence will indicate she died quickly, if not instantly.
Thereafter, gasoline was poured on her body. A trailer was left. Splashed gasoline throughout the living room, kitchen, and her house was set on fire.
The evidence will indicate that the back bedrooms were ransacked. Someone had gone through and made an effort to make it look like someone is going in there, looking for something. But the front rooms, the rooms that Patricia
would pass through as she went to the kitchen and living room and into that hallway, were undisturbed. The evidence will indicate she knew nothing that was out of the ordinary as she approached that bathroom door, where the shooter was waiting for her.
Her husband was working at a second job, second shift job, Precision Fabrics. About 8:00 o'clock, he contacted Patricia's brother, Reuben. And Reuben, based upon that contact, began to try and find Patricia. And eventually, around 8:30, 8:45, he goes to the home, sees it's dark, sees her car, sees her purse, sees this suspicious situation, sees the lawn mower hasn't been moved. And he goes to the door, and he -- by the heat and by the smoke, he knows there's a fire, and he notified the fire department.
At 8:45, the fire department gets there. They go in, they extinguish the blaze, and they find an extremely unusual fire. Most of the house is undamaged. But for an eight-foot space around her body, there's been a long-burning, intense fire, burning so long and so intensely, that it burned through the flooring, through the subflooring, totally burned through the two-by-tens. And her body in that area, that eight-foot area around her body, dropped into the crawl space. Shortly after they extinguished the fire, they found the body and notified the
The sheriff's department began their investigation by talking to members of the family, including Ted Kimble. But for some reason, no one points out that Ronnie Kimble, this defendant, was even in Guilford County. And he was not interviewed. Several days later, on the 14th, was her funeral. And Ronnie Kimble went back to Camp Lejeune.
It came to the attention of the sheriff's department in their investigation that not only was he in Guilford County, but he had been at her home that day, not once, but twice. And they began their investigation. Their investigation also centered upon the husband, because it came to their attention that the husband, Ted Kimble, had taken out a $200,000 insurance policy on her, September the 12th. A policy she didn't want, so he forged her name. The investigation focused on Ted and Ronnie.
Eighteen months go by. January of 1997, a fellow from Lynchburg, Virginia, by the name of Mitch Whidden, contacted the sheriff's department, and he says, "Ronnie Kimble has come to me, told me that he killed Patricia Kimble, his sister-in-law, has told me that he did it for greed, has told me that he did it for the money, for the insurance money." So, the insurance -- sheriff's department did an investigation, and they find out that Mitch Whidden and Ronnie Kimble were in the Marine Corps
together in the late part of 1996, that they were both in the chaplain's corps, both had administrative duties in the chaplain's corps, and they were friends. And that after -in August of 1996, Mitch Whidden went down to Liberty University, to study for the ministry, and the defendant came there and visited him, and the defendant in confidence said to him, "I killed my sister-in-law. I did it for greed. Will it make any difference if I turn this money to God's service?" He hadn't gotten the money yet, but he was planning about it.
The sheriff's department took the usual steps to confirm this. They interviewed the right people, found out about the relationship, found out that Mitch Whidden was a very trustworthy witness, who had absolutely no reason to lie. And on April the 1st of 1997, Ronnie Kimble and Ted Kimble were arrested.
Now, that's not all the evidence we intend to rely upon in this case. In these few minutes I'm allotted, I can't tell you about every piece of evidence. I ask you to pay close attention to the evidence in this case, because every bit of the evidence will say that there's only one person in the world who had a motive to kill Patricia Kimble, and that was Theodore Kimble. And there was only one person that he could trust to do it, and that was his brother, his brother, who was supposed to be five miles away
from Patricia's house, making repairs to his mobile home. Pay close attention to the evidence, ladies and gentlemen of the jury. Thank you.
Published August 15, 2006. Report broken links or other problems.
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