Juan Kinley

Juan Kinley was sentenced to death by the State of Ohio for a double murder

According to court documents Juan Kinley would go to the home of his ex girlfriend and would her and her thirteen year old son with a machete: Thelma and David Miller

Juan Kinley would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death

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Juan Kinley

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Admission Date
Chillicothe Correctional Institution

Juan Kinley Case

In August 1988, Juan Antonio Lamar Kinley, appellant, began dating Thelma Miller. Throughout the course of their relationship, appellant physically beat Thelma and regularly threatened to kill her. In August 1988, appellant beat Thelma for attending a movie with another man. In October 1988, appellant assaulted Thelma and threatened to kill her. In mid-December 1988, appellant physically beat Thelma at a restaurant where appellant and Thelma were employed. At that time, appellant told Thelma, “That’s it, you’ve had it.” Later that month, in December 1988, appellant threatened to kill Thelma if he ever caught her with another man.

Thelma began dating Ronald Hildenbrand in December 1988 or January 1989. On January 8, 1989, Hildenbrand and Thelma were at Thelma’s apartment. Appellant barged into the apartment, shoved Thelma, and threatened that he was going to “get” Thelma and her two sons, David and Daniel Miller. During the altercation, Daniel Miller called “911” to report the incident to police. The telephone call was recorded, and appellant could be heard in the background shouting that Thelma was a “bitch” and a “fucking whore.” Appellant could also be heard saying, “I’m going to fuck you up, Misty [Thelma] * * *.”

The following day, on January 9, 1989, appellant mentioned to a friend that he (appellant) felt like killing Thelma because Thelma had been seeing another man. Another witness heard appellant say, “Well, if I can’t have her [Thelma], no one will.” On January 9, Thelma called Project Woman, a crisis-intervention agency for battered women. Thelma made an appointment with the agency for January 10, at 2:00 p.m.

Elaine Szulewski and her husband, Richard Szulewski, lived at 6780 North River Road in Clark County, Ohio. Thelma occasionally worked for the Szulewskis as a housekeeper. On the morning of January 10, 1989, Thelma arrived at the Szulewski residence to begin her scheduled cleaning duties. Elaine Szulewski telephoned Thelma at the residence and spoke with her at approximately 10:00 a.m. Szulewski again called Thelma at approximately 1:00 p.m., but no one answered the phone at the Szulewski residence.

On January 10, 1989, at approximately 5:00 p.m., Elaine Szulewski returned home from work and found Thelma’s body and the body of Thelma’s youngest child, David, lying in a pool of blood in the Szulewskis’ garage. The victims had been brutally hacked to death. Each victim had suffered multiple lacerations and cut wounds to their heads and bodies. The victims’ wounds had been inflicted with great force and intensity. A number of the blows had penetrated deeply into (or completely through) the victims’ bones. Several of Thelma’s appendages had been severed from her body. The nature of David’s wounds indicated that he had probably survived for a period of time following the attack.

Police quickly responded to the scene. Bloody shoe prints were found in the garage, but no blood was found in the Szulewski residence. Thelma’s car was parked in the driveway, but her car keys were nowhere to be found. Thelma’s purse was missing from the Szulewskis’ home, along with $121 she had been carrying in a flowered bank envelope a day or two before the murders. Approximately $300 in cash was missing from a dresser in the Szulewski bedroom. Also missing was $25 that Elaine Szulewski had placed underneath a tissue box for payment of Thelma’s cleaning services. Additionally, Richard Szulewski’s machete was missing from the garage.

Victor Bishop was with appellant on the morning of January 10, 1989. Appellant arrived at Bishop’s house at approximately 9:45 a.m. However, appellant left Bishop’s house at approximately 10:45 a.m. Appellant then returned approximately one hour later with a large sum of money in a flowered bank envelope. Upon appellant’s return, Bishop noticed that appellant had a set of car keys that appellant had not been carrying earlier that day.

On the evening of January 10, 1989, police spoke with appellant and informed him that Thelma had been murdered. According to police, appellant became very excited and said, “Well, is David dead? Is David dead too?” Appellant informed police that Thelma and David had visited appellant’s home that morning, at approximately 9:30 a.m. Appellant claimed that Thelma had dropped off $40 to enable appellant to pay a $31 court fine. Appellant denied having ever been to the Szulewski residence.

On January 10, 1989, at approximately noon, Randy Maggard was driving on Selma Road near the vicinity of the murder scene. After passing the intersection of Selma and North River Road, Maggard noticed a white and gold 1981 Plymouth automobile being driven erratically and at a high rate of speed. The driver of the Plymouth, an African-American male, tailgated Maggard’s vehicle for some distance. Another witness also saw the 1981 Plymouth in the vicinity of the murder scene at approximately noon on January 10. Both witnesses later identified appellant’s mother’s automobile as the vehicle they had seen in the vicinity of the murders.

On January 12, 1989, appellant was once again questioned by police. Appellant was confronted with the fact that witnesses had seen him near the scene of the killings. During questioning, appellant admitted that he had been to the Szulewski residence the day of the murders. Appellant gave differing accounts of his visit to the residence, but steadfastly denied killing Thelma and David Miller. Appellant repeatedly lied during his interviews with police.

The bloody shoe prints found at the murder scene were made by size ten shoes similar to the type of shoes appellant had been wearing prior to the killings. Bloodstains were detected on appellant’s jacket. The bloodstained jacket had been seized by police without a warrant. DNA analysis revealed that it was highly probable the blood had come from David Miller. A forensic expert found blood in several areas of appellant’s mother’s 1981 Plymouth automobile — the automobile that appellant had been driving on the day of the murders. Human blood was found on the steering wheel. A floormat was missing from the driver’s side of the vehicle. On January 12, 1989, police executed a search warrant at appellant’s residence and found $291.50 in cash and approximately $30 to $50 worth of marijuana.

In the latter part of January 1989, appellant admitted to his friend, Donald A. Merriman, that he had killed Thelma and David Miller. Appellant told Merriman that he (appellant) had “fucked them up.”

In April 1989, police recovered a machete similar to the one that had been missing from the Szulewskis’ garage. The bloodstained machete was found in alley behind appellant’s house. Richard Szulewski identified the machete as belonging to him. The coroner testified that the victim’s wounds were consistent with having been caused by the weapon recovered by police.

Appellant was indicted by the Clark County Grand Jury for the aggravated murders of Thelma and David Miller. For each of the two murders, two counts were returned: one charging that the offense was committed with prior calculation and design, and the other charging felony murder premised upon aggravated robbery. Each of the four counts of aggravated murder carried an R.C. 2929.04(A)(5) death penalty specification alleging that the offense was part of a course of conduct involving the purposeful killing of two or more persons. Additionally, appellant was indicted on one count of aggravated robbery.

Appellant was tried before a three-judge panel. The panel found appellant guilty of the two counts of aggravated (felony) murder and guilty of the death penalty specification in connection with each count. The panel also found appellant guilty of aggravated robbery. The panel found appellant not guilty of the two additional counts of aggravated (premeditated) murder, but guilty on both counts of the lesser included offenses of murder, which were merged with the aggravated murder counts. For each of the two counts of aggravated (felony) murder, the panel sentenced appellant to death. For the remaining offense, appellant was sentenced in accordance with law. On appeal, the court of appeal affirmed appellant’s convictions and sentences, including the sentences of death.


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