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James Ogburn, why didn't he testify for the Defense?


 

On October 9, 1995, James Ogburn was an employee at Lyles.  He was initially interviewed by Sergeant David DeBerry (GCSD) on October 12, 1995, regarding his own whereabouts on October 9, with some questions also relating to Ted.  Ronnie is not mentioned in DeBerry's report

 

On April 18, 1997, Ogburn gave a signed, handwritten note to the Kimbles concerning a conversation he had with Robert Nicholes. 

Robert informed me that the Police was on him concerning Ted and the murder case.  Robert also says that, Ted told him some things that he shouldn't have, but nothing concerning the murder.  Robert says he was going to plea guilty to all larcenry charges.

According to Defense case notes dated 5/4/97, Ogburn told Dave North that he saw Ronnie at 3:45-4:30. 

 

On July 22, 1997, Ogburn was with Walter Cole when he again saw Robert Nicholes.  Nicholes told the two men that he wasn't going to follow through with his deal with the District Attorney. 

Ogburn's handwritten note

On July 22nd, I saw Robert Nicklous in the parking lot down fro Lyles Bld. Materials.  He stated to me that he wasn't going to testifie against ted, concerning the murder of his wife.  Rob, also asked me to inform Mr. Kimble of this matter too.  Robert says that he would be in contempt of court, for not testifying, and that he would deal with that.  His primary message was for me to inform Mr. K of his actions concerning this matter.

 

Cole's handwritten note

Leaving work, James and I ran into Rob and talked with him in the parking lot of the boat place.  He talked about how well he was doing with his new business and the new home he just purchased.  He also spoke on Ted and Ron in reference to how they were doing etc. and mentioned that he was not going to testify to that "bull-shit because it wasn't right.  He stated that he and his wife had talked about it and he had had a change of heart and realized it was wrong to do so.  She had the same feelings.  He stated that instead he would take the "contempt of court charge" and do the time at the county farm.  He told James that he was telling him this so that he could relay it to Mr. Kimble.

On October 30, 1997, Private Investigator Mike Ingold interviewed Ogburn on behalf Ronnie's defense team.  Regarding Ronnie's afternoon visit to Lyles,

Mr. Ogburn stated that he left for lunch at bout 1:30 p.m. and did not return until shortly before 3:00 p.m. He stated that his car broke down and that was the reason he was late returning from lunch. Mr. Ogburn stated that Ronnie was helping Steve build dog houses. He stated that Ronnie left at about 4:30 p.m.

Ogburn is the perfect witness to verify that Ronnie was at Lyles from 3:45 to 4:30, clearly eliminating him as a suspect in the murder/arson.  The detectives took his word for Ted's alibi, so why wouldn't they believe him regarding Ronnie.

 

The answer may be in his vulnerability to intimidation by the State.  Ogburn had a rap sheet which included a couple drug possession charges for which he received 36 months probation on May 18, 1995.  He undoubtedly was still on probation in 1997. 

 

He also was vulnerable to charges in the burglaries committed by Ted, Robert Nicholes, and Patrick Pardee.  He signed a statement on May 31 admitting his role in removing the color bar codes on the lumber the other 3 men had stolen. 

 

The Discovery provided by the State to the Defense did not yield an agreement between the State and Ogburn that would avoid prosecution, but charges were never brought against Ogburn for his role.

 

The statement he signed is dated May 31, but no year.  Was it May 31, 1997, or May 31, 1998?  In the statement he described in detail his role in altering the stolen lumber and said he was "willing to cooperate and help in anyway I can to resolve this matter." He does not say in this statement that Ronnie was not at Lyles on the afternoon of October 9, 1995.  Ronnie Kimble is not mentioned at all, so the statement is not a retraction of his former statements to the Kimble family and to the Private Investigator. 

 

Whatever the year, the State had his confession to use at any time to prosecute him, but he was never even charged.  Nor did he appear as a witness for Ronnie Kimble. 

 

 

 

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

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