Kenneth DeShields Executed For Elizabeth Reed Murder

Kenneth DeShields Executed For Elizabeth Reed Murder

Kenneth DeShields was executed by the State of Delaware for the murder of Elizabeth Reed

According to court documents Kenneth DeShields would rob and murder Elizabeth Reed in order to get her vehicle

Kenneth DeShields would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death

Kenneth DeShields would be executed by lethal injection on August 31 1993

Kenneth DeShields Case

On August 11, 1984, Elizabeth Reed, an attendant at a Sussex County landfill located south of Milford and near Lincoln, a small rural community, died from a shotgun wound fired at close range shortly after 4:00 p.m. as she was preparing to leave work. She had been shot at the *633 landfill and her body dragged approximately 95 feet to where it was found by her son the following day. Local residents had heard a shotgun blast coming from the direction of the landfill between 4:00 and 4:30 p.m. on August 11. One witness placed the blast at exactly 4:19 p.m.

The police soon began to focus their investigation on DeShields. For the prior month and a half, DeShields had been living near Lincoln with his girlfriend, Sadie Sample. DeShields and Sample shared living accommodations in a three-bedroom mobile home with Sample’s mother, Odetta Boyd, the owner of the home, and five other relatives of Sample, including her seventeen-year-old nephew.

On Saturday, August 11, DeShields wanted to go to a family reunion out of state, but he had no money and no means of transportation. Sample could offer little assistance, then having only five dollars and no car. That morning, about 10:30 a.m., DeShields left the Boyd home, telling Sample that he was going to attempt to borrow the car of a friend, Gary Waters.

Later that afternoon, at a time estimated to be between 3:30 and 4:00 p.m., DeShields was seen by a close acquaintance driving a car at an excessive speed on a rural road between Milford and Slaughter Neck. The witness noticed DeShields because the car the witness was driving came close to colliding with the car DeShields was driving when DeShields ran a stop sign. At trial, the witness identified the car DeShields was driving, which other witnesses identified as Reed’s car.

That same day, DeShields returned to the Boyd home near Lincoln between 4:30 and 5:00 p.m. He was driving a car that Sample and her nephew had never seen before, but which was identified at trial as Reed’s car. When Sample asked DeShields where he had gotten the car, DeShields said that it belonged to a friend of his. Sample knew that it was not Waters’ car. Sample’s nephew saw a shotgun belonging to DeShields in the back seat of the car. Her nephew observed DeShields take the shotgun out of the back seat of the car and put it in the trunk. Later he saw DeShields take a change purse out of the car, empty it, and throw it into the nearby woods.

Thereafter, Kenneth DeShields, Sample, and her seventeen-year-old nephew drove off in Reed’s car, traveling through Sussex and Kent Counties. While the car was parked on a side street in Dover, DeShields took the shotgun out of the trunk and sat in the car with the gun for five to ten minutes before putting it back in the trunk. They eventually returned to the mobile home at approximately 11:30 p.m. Saturday night. When DeShields said he was driving back to Dover, Sample asked him to leave the shotgun with her. DeShields wrapped the shotgun in a green garbage bag and gave it and the weapon’s magazine to Sample. Sample put the shotgun in the closet of the bedroom that she and DeShields slept in and placed the gun’s magazine under the mattress of their bed.

On Sunday evening, August 12, two Delaware State Police officers went to Boyd’s home. They were looking for DeShields and Sample in connection with the shooting. Although neither Sample nor Kenneth DeShields was there, Boyd consented when asked by the officers if they could search her daughter’s and the defendant’s bedroom. Boyd asserted that she had complete access to all portions of the home. In the bedroom closet, the police found the shotgun in the garbage bag and the magazine with two unexpended 20-gauge shotgun shells between the mattress and box springs of the bed.

Early the following morning, August 13, the police arrested DeShields after “spotting” him driving Reed’s car. On the day of arrest, over a period of several hours, DeShields gave approximately four statements, although in several different variations, to the police. The Superior Court, *634 however, suppressed portions of the initial statements, finding the police to have violated Kenneth DeShields’ Miranda rights by ignoring his request, early in the interview, to postpone the questioning. The inadmissible statements led to the discovery of an expended shotgun shell casing and Reed’s wallet near a dirt road approximately two-tenths of a mile from the landfill. Ballistic examination established that the shell had been fired from the gun taken from Kenneth DeShields’ bedroom and that the shot or pellets taken from Reed’s body were consistent with the shot found within the shells hidden under the mattress.

As previously noted, based on the facts presented at trial, the jury found DeShields guilty on all charges.

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