Thursday, April 2, 2009

"It’s a wicked world."

Murder suspect had killed before
By Sharon Coolidge
Re-printed from a March 9, 2009 article in the Cincinnati Enquirer

Suspected Child Serial Killer Anthony Kirkland
Suspected Child Serial Killer Anthony Kirkland.

The man accused of killing 13-year-old Esme Kinney while she was jogging in her Winton Hills neighborhood Sunday has killed before.

In addition, Anthony Kirkland, 40, was expelled last month from a West Side sex offender program where he was serving a parole term on a separate sex crime, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

He failed to register his address as a sex offender after leaving that program, and a warrant for his arrest had been issued because of it.

Kirkland was ordered held on $5,350,000 bond this morning on charges he killed Esme, a student at the Cincinnati School for the Creative and Performing Arts who went for a run Saturday and never came home.

Hamilton County Municipal Judge Fanon Rucker set the bond for Kirkland during a brief arraignment. Kirkland pleaded not guilty.

Prisons records show Kirkland was sentenced in 1987 to spend seven to 25 years in prison on charges of voluntary manslaughter and aggravated arson. He served 16 years and was released on parole Sept. 3, 2003.

The following October he was released from probation, having committed no new crimes.

Three months later he was accused of breaking into a woman's home and raping her. He was acquitted of that charge.

Most recently, he was on parole for soliciting a 13-year-old girl for sex in 2007, and ordered to live at Volunteers of America. He was ordered to leave that facility on Feb. 27, after he was caught fighting with an inmate, a prison spokeswoman said.

When his parole officer was notified the following Monday, parole officers began looking for Kirkland, who is required to register his address every year - or if he moves - with the sheriff's office in the county where he lives, the spokeswoman said.

The search lasted through the week, with the Southern Ohio Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team joining the search on Thursday.

By then, he had already begun a string of crimes, court records show.

Kirkland is accused of breaking into a man's home and repeatedly stabbing him with scissors on March 1, before the hunt began. Then five days later, he is accused of threatening the mother of his child with a knife, a violation of a protection order put in place in 2007.

Kirkland also was convicted of two counts of unlawful restraint in 2007. Since 2005, he has been charged with but acquitted of public indecency, inducing panic, endangering children, rape and aggravated burglary.

Police found Esme Kenney 's body at 3:30 a.m. Sunday, nearly 12 hours after she was last seen jogging and just a block from where she grew up on Winton Ridge Lane in Winton Hills. Later Sunday, police arrested Kirkland, whom they discovered in the woods. Kirkland was charged with murder.

Police say the teenager left home Saturday, planning to take a route she'd run many times before, around a nearby reservoir. She told her parents she'd be back.

The police issued a missing person's report at 10 p.m.

During the early hours of the search, officers found Kirkland in the woods.

Fearing Esme had been hurt, they called in more police dogs and flew a county helicopter overhead.

The body, which the family confirmed as Esme's, was found in the 5900 block of Winton Road. Police have not yet released details about how Esme died.

Esme majored in vocal and instrumental music at SCPA in Over-the-Rhine. She sang in a choir and was a cellist in the junior high orchestra.

The family asks that people make a donation in Esme's name to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at:

"We're hoping that our experience leads families to re-evaluate their idea of what the word 'safe' means where their wives and daughters are concerned. It's a wicked world," cousin Brad Kenney said.