Kim Kardashian's The System: The Case of Kevin Keith - Episode 6 - Puzzle Pieces

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VO 00:00

The system contains adult content and may not be suitable for all audiences. Listener discretion is advised.

Kim Kardashian 00:11

I’ll be the first to admit that this case can be confusing. There’s so many players here. So I want to remind you what we’ve heard so far. In the months leading up to the Bucyrus estates murders, there was a pharmacy burglary ring operating in Ohio. Pharmacies were being broken into and the stolen drugs were being sold. Members of the Ring included Rodney Melton, Bruce Melton and Demetrius Reeves, the father of Quanita and Quentin. This Ring is well documented in the official reports by the State Board of Pharmacy. Demetrius Reeves was an accomplice of Rodney and Bruce Melton. He was also supposedly a friend of Kevin Keith. January 21, 1994. Kevin and several of his family members were arrested during a drug raid. By the time the murders occurred, Kevin was out on bail awaiting pending drug charges. Though this is documented in the Pharmacy Burglary Report, no one involved in the raid in Crestline was part of the pharmacy ring. The Board of Pharmacy and the Galion police station. We’re still monitoring the Burglary Ring when the Bucyrus Estates murders occurred. The Galion police officers leading this charge were lieutenants Jerry Hickman and David Dayne. Rudel Chatman was one of their confidential informants during this time, the other was named Lynn McKee.

It’s believed that Rudel was the intended target of the shootings on February 13, at the Bucyrus estates complex due to his ratting to the police. January 31, 1994. Jerry Hickman reported to the Board of Pharmacy that an informant heard that Rodney Melton was paid $15,000 to cripple the man that was responsible for the drug raids the week before. The officers in charge of the pharmacy burglary ring investigation, were aware of this reported threat. And it’s documented in the report, though it’s unclear who would be paying Rodney Melton the $15,000. Why wasn’t the person who made these reported threats treated as a main suspect? And why didn’t the police do more to protect Rudel and his family? Maybe they didn’t take it seriously. But that threat was reported two weeks before the murders.

February 13 1994, the murders at the Bucyrus estates complex take place. That night at the crime scene Lieutenant Dane and Hickman said they heard Kevin’s name mentioned in connection with the crime while they were at the hospital with the victim’s families. According to them, Rudel Chatman said Rodney was at the hospital that night accusing him of being the reason why all of this happened.

Rodney Melton showed up to the crime scene later as well, mentioning his car had broken down and asking about the kinds of bullets used. February 15, 1994. Two days after the murders, Bill Clinton gave his anti-crime speech in London, Ohio. That same day Kevin Keith was arrested.

Newscaster 03:24

Kevin Keith was arrested at his home in Crestline, halfway between Bucyrus and Mansfield. He is charged with…

Kim Kardashian 03:32

February 18, three days after Kevin’s arrest, Quanita was interviewed by police at the hospital. She was shown Kevin’s photo in a lineup and said it was not him. This is also when she mentioned the name Bruce. Though the pharmacy burglary investigation was happening in tandem with the Bucyrus Estates murders investigation. None of this information was presented in court during Kevin’s trial. Despite the connections between the cases it was never brought up at all. This case is messy. And the more you dig, the more complicated it gets. But also the more instances of negligence and possible corruption you find. If not all of this information was available in court, can you trust the results of the Bucyrus Estates murder trial? Remember, it’s the state’s burden to pursue all possible suspects to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Kevin committed this crime. Did the state meet this requirement? I’m Kim Kardashian. And this is The System

Eric Sandy 04:41

A lot of things don’t add up super clearly in this case, but the more you talk to people, the more they do start to align. That’s kind of like that classic idea of putting together a puzzle. My name is Eric Sandy, and I’m a Northeast Ohio based journalist and editor. And I’ve been covering the courts and criminal justice related stories for the past 12 years. I wrote this feature on the Kevin Keith case in 2017. And that was for Cleveland Scene Magazine. The official story is about as open and shut as possible, according to the theory that the state put forth back in 1984. What I came to find out was that it’s a much more complicated story that involves the interplay between local police, judges and courts’ officials, and prosecuting attorneys, as well as a completely separate criminal case involving pharmacy burglaries that were taking place across the state of Ohio, about a year before the murder. And thus, the puzzle grew more complicated and more interesting. Because I started to see that there was a lot going on around Kevin Keith. When those puzzle pieces started interlocking, it started casting the murder in a completely different light. And once you threw all those puzzle pieces on the table, Kevin Keith, as an individual didn’t fit into that story so much as everybody else. Kevin Keith is kind of on the periphery of that in this community in Crestline, Ohio, you know, a murder case where someone’s very quickly convicted and goes to jail is a tragedy, first of all, but it’s not explicitly a story. It doesn’t tell us too much about what’s happening in the community at a given time in the state of Ohio. Everything else around Kevin Keith, including what I just said, including the police and the local courts officials, that does tell a story about something that happened in the state of Ohio at a certain time that has ramifications that continue to play out to this day, and it further rots away at the system itself. In 1993, into early 94, there were a string of pharmacy burglaries where essentially narcotics were being stolen mostly in like liquid form and in pill form, and then inevitably sold on the streets in in central Ohio. The State Board of Pharmacy was investigating this and had enlisted essentially a task force that included a few police officers from Galion Ohio, and that’s very close to Bucyrus and Crestline. Those police officers were Jerry Hickman and David Dayne they were brought on to essentially investigate these pharmacy burglaries.

Kim Kardashian 08:04

In fact, Hickman and Dayne had been tailing this Ring for six months prior to the Board of Pharmacy getting involved.

Eric Sandy 08:10

And one of the crucial documents that had been uncovered before I came around by the attorneys in this case, was a State Board of Pharmacy investigative narrative that broke down day by day, what this taskforce was doing what they were finding and who they were interacting with that included informants that included the actual pharmacies themselves. The reason that that’s very interesting in this case is that the day by day narrative eventually catches up to February 1994, which is when the murders in Bucyrus take place.

News Clip 08:49

Kevin Keith, charged with murdering a Bucyrus family on February the 13th.

Eric Sandy 08:55

The overlap between this investigation in the pharmacy burglaries and the investigation into the Bucyrus murders is a pretty notable Venn diagram of the two criminal cases involve a lot of the same people. A very similar timeframe. It’s difficult to not notice that. Jerry Hickman is visible on both these cases. Than in the police reports from the Bucyrus Police Department. Not only does Rodney Melton show up on the scene, but Jerry Heckman does as well who again is not a Bucyrus police officer and was not at the time, but rather a Galion police officer. A lot of a lot of departments and, you know, first responder agencies will certainly cooperate with one another across city lines. You see this a lot with fires or medical emergencies. There’s certainly reason to suspect that a police officer who was investigating pharmacy break ins would be at the scene of a murderer that has explicit connections to the informant in that case, who he’d been working with, and potentially the suspects in those pharmacy break-in cases, because again, the people who are murdered at the apartment that night, were not the intended target. They were not informing on any pharmacy breaking suspects, but they were the family of that person. There are explicit connections between the work that Jerry Hickman was doing, investigating pharmacy break ins, and the people who were targets of a murder that had been set up that night in Bucyrus.

Kim Kardashian 10:42

Jerry Hickman was the lead on the Pharmacy Burglary Ring case. Though he was based in Galion, he shows up with Lieutenant Dayne at the scene of the crime in Bucyrus. They provide the first mention of Kevin’s name, which they supposedly heard at the hospital that same night. The pharmacy burglary rings seems to have nothing to do with Kevin Keith. He wasn’t even one of the members of the Ring.

And yet his family’s drug bust is documented in the pharmacy burglary ring reports. And the officers at the helm of the investigation named Kevin as a potential suspect at the scene of the crime. These are the same officers that were aware of the threats allegedly made by Rodney Melton in January. So if these officers were becoming involved in the Bucyrus murder case, why wasn’t Rodney’s reported threat ever brought up at trial?

Eric Sandy 11:32

I kind of walked away from the initial reporting on this story, feeling just far more disillusioned with low level local police officers than I even had before. It becomes very clear how simple tasks that are being carried out by local police can very quickly spiral out into much broader implications, including other criminal cases, other communities entirely other types of crimes, things like pharmacy break-ins and drug sales and murders, again, now that the police officers are explicitly committing these crimes, the

certainly in this case, and in many other cases, not preventing them and not discouraging these types of activities. And in fact, because they’re often working very closely with confidential informants, or the suspects, in certain cases, they’re very close to this kind of behavior. And by letting it go or by turning a blind eye, so to speak, and possibly even benefiting from the ramifications, these kinds of cases can very quickly get out of hand.

Kim Kardashian 12:41

My question is, what was in it for the police? What was in it for the police to just rush to close this case? Because to me, if we’re uncovering these details years later, it seems this case was not handled properly and transparently in 1994.

Eric Sandy 12:58

In cases like this, one of the questions that emerges, of course, is what’s in it for the local officials? Because a lot of that is shrouded in darkness itself. And is it sort of contained within the individual police officers own decision making processes, my interpretation is short term gains, you know, the freedom to operate on their own away from the scrutiny of higher public offices or state level offices, let’s say in this case. The ability to kind of be a big fish in a small pond, which is, I think, a metaphor that we’ve all run into, in one way or another, you see this a lot in the corporate world, but you certainly see it in the policing world to where these little fiefdoms that exist all over the country, and certainly would include a place like Bucyrus, or Galion or Crestline, Ohio police officers there, just as a general rule, have quite a lot of power. But I don’t think it’s too hard to imagine that some short term gains related to power on a very small local level, were enough to entice them to do what they felt they had to do.

Kim Kardashian 14:10

In any case that I’ve taken on so far, this is a common through line, small town police rushing to solve something and sticking with their story no matter what, even when it seems like there’s reasonable doubt. The thing is the pharmacy burglary ring and the investigation around it was left out of Kevin’s trial in 1994. As Eric Sandy said, this case is like a Venn diagram. And the burglary ring is one of those circles. But when Kevin went to trial, it’s like that part of the story didn’t even exist. I think Eric Sandy said it well, it can be hard to have faith and low level police officers that are dealing with a case of this magnitude. There was pressure to solve this crime, especially after Clinton’s anti-crime speech in Ohio. And it’s believable to me that these officers double down on the version of the story that seemed good enough without having exhausted all options. To me, it seems once they arrested Kevin only two days later, they did everything in their power to bolster that narrative. Rather than explore other loose ends and make sure that Kevin was guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Lori Rothschild 15:20

The police and the state knew that another man was capable of committing this crime and never brought it to trial. That’s exculpatory evidence and that’s a Brady violation.

Kim Kardashian 15:32

A Brady violation is a very serious violation of due process. It’s defined as the government’s withholding of evidence that is material to the determination of guilt or punishment of a criminal defendant. This

withholding of information violates the defendants constitutional right to due process. And not all of the information surrounding Kevin’s case was presented to the court and made available to legal counsel before trial.

Lori Rothschild 15:59

That’s Brady. That’s a Brady violation. That should at that moment, give Kevin a new trial because it was never entered into court. Kevin went to Death Row. They could have killed him. This was a death penalty case. No one would research this case, no one would give a shit. What they didn’t factor in was Charles Keith.

News Clip 16:24

Keith’s brother Charles helped deliver 10,000 signatures to Governor Ted Strickland Tuesday, urging him to stop next month’s planned execution.

Rachel Troutman 16:33

The information found in the Pharmacy Board reports about Rodney Melton being paid $15,000. That was a Brady violation. But it wasn’t the only Brady violation. This was a Brady violation among several that we’d found.

Kim Kardashian 16:47

This is Rachel Troutman, Kevin’s current attorney from the Ohio Public Defender’s Office.

Rachel Troutman 16:53

The state has the burden of proof and because they’re supposed to seek justice, if they have anything in their possession that is exculpatory, that undermines the state’s case and and is helpful to the defendant, they’re required by the Constitution to turn it over. exculpatory evidence is evidence that helps the defendant and that undermines the state’s case, it tends to disprove that the person committed the crime. For example, with Kevin’s case, since they were alleging that Kevin is the person who shot six people, then the fact that there was evidence demonstrating that somebody else said they committed these crimes, that is exculpatory, to Kevin. Brady violations are very serious prosecutorial misconduct, it goes to the core of the trial, and it goes to the job of the prosecutor, you know, we need to be able to trust that the people who are putting somebody on the stand and saying, you know, please convict this person, find beyond a reasonable doubt that they belong in prison or or should be sentenced to death. Now, we need to trust that not only do they believe it, but that they are doing their job to the best of their ability and following all the constitutional obligations. When you find a Brady violation, especially one as significant as this much less all of them together, it requires a new trial. And 2007, we found our first motion for new trial for Kevin, and we made the argument that the prosecutor had withheld from Kevin’s defense the evidence that implicated Melton as perpetrator. But the court said that Kevin had made this argument already that Melton was the killer, and that the jury had rejected it. And that since much of this was already inferred at trial, it didn’t matter enough to require a new trial. Kevin, we have requested a new trial in multiple different occasions for multiple different reasons, most of which being prosecutorial misconduct, and he has never been granted a new trial.

He’s never even been granted a hearing.

Kim Kardashian 19:16

Despite the fact that the pharmacy burglary investigation wasn’t presented to the judge, the jury or legal counsel during Kevin’s trial, arrest had been made by law enforcement by May of 1994.

Charles Keith 19:29

They had arrested Rodney,

Kim Kardashian 19:32

This is Charles Kevin’s older brother.

Charles Keith 19:35

He was arrested on the burglar pharmacy burglary trial. So he was downstairs in the Crawford County Jail and they just brought him up and asked him a couple of questions. And when that lawyer had, Rodney on the stand, there was a zillion in one questions he could have asked him because I was thinking those questions. They asked him if he did it. He says no. He says if you did, would you tell us he says I’m sure I would.

News Clip 19:58

Before resting its case the defencse called Rodney Melton to the stand.

Attorney James Banks 20:02

You don’t recall asking the sheriff about the casings and jackets that night.

Rodney Melton 20:07 No, sir.

Attorney James Banks 20:09

And you didn’t have anything to do with these killings on February the 13th 1994.

Rodney Melton 20:14 No, sir.

Attorney James Banks 20:16

You would would tell us if you did wouldn’t you?

Rodney Melton 20:19 Yes I would.

Kim Kardashian 20:25

During the trial, the attorney asked Rodney Melton about when he brought up bullet casings to the sheriff at the scene of the murders, Rodney responded saying he didn’t recall that. But we have the police report that states otherwise. Here’s what it says.

VO 20:41

At 1200 hours, I spoke to Sheriff Schober. He advised that the night of the shooting he was at the scene and remained in his vehicle. He stated that Rodney Melton was also at the scene and came over to his car and spoke to him. We found it curious that Rodney made a point of telling them about how his car was broken down and he had to get a ride from Mansfield to come over when he heard about the shootings. Rodney also asked him if the bullets used were full jacketed nine millimeter, which they were, and if they were, the shooters were probably from Detroit, as his son was killed in Detroit, and that’s what was used to kill him.

Charles Keith 21:25

Now why he was at the scene of the crime, I don’t understand, but he had told them that the bullets use was jacketed bullets. And he talked to Sheriff Schobert. And then when the ballistics came back, they were jacketed.

Kim Kardashian 21:38

Rodney, his brother Bruce was called to the stand too.

News Clip 21:42

The defense was trying to link Bruce Melton to the crime that he denied any role in the shootings.

Attorney James Banks 21:49

Where were you the night of February 3, 1994?

Bruce 21:52 Crestline.

Attorney James Banks 21:53

I have no further questions. Thank you.

Charles Keith 21:56

Demetrius Reeves was also getting ready to be a witness against Rodney in the pharmacy burglary. He was one of them going to be one of the main witnesses. Well, you realize it was Demetrius Reeve’s, kids who got shot.

Kim Kardashian 22:07

If Demetrius knew more than he led on, why wouldn’t he have said so?

Charles Keith 22:12

Fear, and then you’re looking at incriminated himself. He knew that they were not going to arrest Rodney. So it would have been him and Rodney out there. And he just said, I don’t know who did it. I just want whoever did it to be arrested.

Lori Rothschild 22:27

He spoke to me years later, but he was at that point he was especially talking to me, convinced that Kevin Keith was the guy who shot his children, convinced.

Kim Kardashian 22:39

There may be more to the story when it comes to Demetrius being vague on the stand. Demetrius was facing his own criminal charges along with Rodney and Bruce due to the pharmacy burglary ring. And it turns out the charges were quite serious. They were facing RICO charges which are given in connection with racketeering activity and organized crime. The pharmacy burglary ring falls under this and there’s reason to believe the ring was facing life in prison. By May of 1994 when Kevin’s trial was taking place. Demetrius had also been called to testify against Rodney in the upcoming pharmacy burglary ring trial.

Lori Rothschild 23:16

So months after Kevin’s arrest, conviction, and he’s now on death row, the pharmacy burglary ring case goes to court. This is a very big trial for the State Board of Pharmacy. It’s it’s huge for the state of Ohio. It’s huge for Crawford County. Now this is imagine this is a 99 count indictment against the pharmacy burglary ring, which includes Demetrius Reeves, Rodney Melton, Bruce Melton, they’re all on trial with a RICO charge. Now, when you think about what these guys are facing, it really speaks to motive as to why someone would want to go after the CI. So a RICO charge was actually created back in the 70s.

And it’s the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. It was like the mafia, that’s what it was created for. And the idea behind a RICO charge, is that only charging for the underlying crimes. It would not it would be inadequate, you know, it doesn’t truly reflect the crime. That has happened if they were just charged for burglary charges. It’s not enough. The fact of the matter is, is that they were a ring that they were a group. So because they were a group and they were organized, do these smaller burglaries, those smaller charges aren’t enough so that so the RICO charge allows a more substantial sentencing. Definitely Rodney and Bruce were facing legal charges because we have a subpoena in the file where Demetrius Reeves is subpoenaed to testify against Rodney and Bruce on Rico charges. If Rodney thought that someone was snitching on them, for this pharmacy burglary ring activity that they were doing and they were the leaders of the group, he and his brother that he was facing life in prison. If he got caught, you got to think about that as a criminal.

News Clip 25:13

Demetrius Reeves also took the stand, but Reeves said he was in Crestline on February 13, the night of the murders, and he denied having any part in the shootings.

Prosecutor 25:23

Do you shoot your children? No. Do you have any reason to believe that Rodney and Bruce Melton did?

Demetrius 25:30

I don’t know. I don’t know if it did or not. I just I just whether whoever did it, I just want them to get caught.

Charles Keith 25:42

Then they played the tape. And that’s when Quanita said, my daddy’s friend, Bruce. And when using that word, friend, man, that’s key. She didn’t just say it was Bruce, she said its the friend. And then

when the pharmacy bugarly report come out and you look at Demetrius getting ready to testify and turn state’s evidence against Rodney and Bruce, some kind of friend isn’t it?

Kim Kardashian 26:03

It sounds like Demetrius was a friend of both the Keith’s and the Meltons. But he didn’t take a strong allegiance to either family when he was on the stand. Remember, Kevin said in his media interview with Tonya Strong, that he was sure Demetrius knew that he loved his kids.

Tonya Strong 26:18 How did you know them?

Kevin Keith 26:19

Because their dad and I spent a lot of time together. We was like best friends. They came over a lot this summer, I fed them. Their dad was going through a rough time with his divorce and I was there to comfort him. Demetrius’s two kids, I love them like I love my own and he knows that. I believe deep down inside he really knows that.

Kim Kardashian 26:39

But that’s not how it played out during the trial. Though there are several things that don’t look good for Kevin in this case. The same could be said for some other players here. In particular Rodney Milton’s name is sprinkled throughout the police reports. He was attached to the license plate numbers. He was at the scene of the crime on February 13. And also as we’ve covered last episode, police reports state that Rodney was at the hospital that same night accusing Rudall of being the reason this all happened. In fact, an article in the Bucyrus Telegraph Forum ran this statement, citing a source that wish to stay anonymous.

Voice Over 27:18

The man said a mutual acquaintance met Chatman family members at the hospital shortly after the shootings, and describe the gunman before anyone but eyewitnesses could have known such details.

Charles Keith 27:30

How was Rodney Melton so involved to help implicate Kevin? Why was he at the hospital? If you look into most of the report, Rodney stated this, Rodney stated that, Rodney said this and Rodney did that. I just couldn’t believe that.

Lori Rothschild 27:46

That’s what I thought was the most interesting about his testimony. Like he said they asked him about his car, whatever, and they just believed him. For the jury, it was almost as if since the police believe him, then we should believe him. He’s not he’s been cleared. I think the biggest question is why would they protect him? Right? It’s still the big question, right? If this guy was a viable suspect, why wouldn’t they investigate and find the pharmacy board report?

Kim Kardashian 28:15

Well, when it comes to the pharmacy burglary investigation, there may have been some bad police work going on. And the first place to start is with a closer look at the other informant, Lynn McKee.

Lori Rothschild 28:28

She was the driver. She was the driver of the Ring admittedly, she tells the police that she’s driving and so she’s exchanging that information for you know, probably a lesser charge or immunity or something. I don’t know it’s not listed anywhere as to what she was offered by by Jerry Heckman. I don’t know if they ever realized that Lynn McKee was acting as a confidential informant. They certainly knew that when they got arrested. Once this information actually went out, and obviously during their trial, they realized that and inside of that trial, it’s revealed that Lynn McKee is the CI providing information to the police. And it’s then revealed that she’s sleeping with the lead detective Jerry Hickman. Lynn McKee was the CI and lucky for them that Lynn McKee was because Lynn McKee strikes up a romantic relationship with Jerry Hickman. And because of that, it’s a conflict of interest. And as soon as that comes up, the judge says this information isn’t valid. We can’t none of this information that she supplies anymore is could be real because she’s in a relationship with the detective she could be making this whole thing up. She becomes a you know, an ineffective witness if you would. So, the lesser charges, there are some lesser charges that the burglary ring gets they do serve some time, but not the 99 count and the RICO charge which could have resulted in all of them going life in prison. So Lynn McKee saves their ass yet again and she’s still married to Jerry Hickman to this day. I was out there I knocked on their door and saw her myself.

Kim Kardashian 30:20

Jerry Hickman ended up entering into a romantic relationship with one of the confidential informants from the pharmacy burglary ring, Lynn McKee. Lori approached Hickman and Mickey’s House in the pursuit of a statement for this podcast, but was turned away. Remember, Hickman was the lieutenant from Galion who showed up at the Bucyrus estates murder scene with Lieutenant Dayne. They are the ones that first said Kevin’s name according to Bucyrus police reports. Lynn McKee is the one who reported Rodney’s threat about being paid $15,000 to cripple the man responsible. She was the one who made the initial report that was withheld from defense counsel during Kevin’s trial.

Rachel Troutman 31:03

When the drug ring was eventually tried later, in 1994, I was told that it was Hickman clandestine relationship that ended up costing that investigation. Hickman had played such a significant part in that investigation, so when his credibility was ruined due to that relationship, it just damaged their case beyond repair. Though the members of the pharmacy burglary ring were eventually tried for their crimes due to the mismanagement of the case they all just got reduced sentences. Ultimately, no one served the life sentence for the RICO charges. After the pharmacy burglar ring trial, Jerry Hickman faded away from public service and so did David Dayne. In fact, David Dayne retired from duty on June 1 1994. It was one day after Kevin was sentenced to death. Hickman had retired on February 27 of 1995. And it was only a few months after the pharmacy ring trial ended.

Kim Kardashian 31:57

An affair with an informant is a pretty serious breach of morality when it comes to law enforcement duty. To me it’s feasible that a man who would cross this line wouldn’t think twice about not turning over

evidence of another possible suspect. If Hickman would risk interfering with the case so much as to strike up a relationship with his CI, what else would he think was acceptable conduct? It may not have been a purposeful withholding of information. And maybe it was just an oversight. But the fact remains, this information mattered and it wasn’t reported. So what does this all amount to, this whole narrative about the pharmacy burglary ring? This is all exculpatory evidence that should have been available to defense counsel at the time of Kevin’s trial. In May of 1994, this was not available information.

Therefore the omission of this concurrent case could have been serious Brady violation and an infringement on Kevin’s rights as a defendant.

Rachel Troutman 33:04

Had Kevin’s lawyer James Banks known about this information had they provided it to him he could have brought up those threats that were made by Rodney and to me there seems to be a reasonable cause to investigate, you know, others that had similar motives. There are a lot of people who were ratted on by Rudel Chatman. But again, Kevin was arrested only two days after the murders.

Kim Kardashian 33:28

At the end of the day, I just want to emphasize how imperfect this system is, no matter what you believe about this case, do you consider this due process? This mismanagement is enough to tell me that this case deserves a second look. But I assure you, this isn’t the last twist of this winding road. And we haven’t put the last pieces of the puzzle together yet.

Charles Keith 33:52

Another thing is that I had discovered it was letters that was written during Kevin’s trial. There was a letter written from Rodney Melton to Detective Corwin, you know describing some things and I think he wrote that letter on May 19. Kevin’s trial started May 10. That’s when they started their voydear and putting together the jury and all that stuff. So I think with the May 19 is when Rodney wrote that letter, a two page letter I sent it to the police officer and that was never turned over to defense. It was never turned over to anybody.

Kim Kardashian 34:21

And we have those letters. Here’s an excerpt from the one Charles is referring to.

Voice Over 34:26

May 19, 1994, Mr. Mike Corwin.

Kim Kardashian 34:31

Rodney Melton knew Michael Corwin from his youth. They grew up together in the same community.


I’m sort of disappointed for various reasons., and I’ll explain or try too. First of all, I gave my parole officer my word that I would help or try to.

Kim Kardashian 34:45 And he goes on to


I tried to help you Mike, and I probably would have been total help if my car would have been running. I probably would have been a better help if I would have been awakened different. Mike, not all black men are totally gone bad. It takes a little goodness have heart to not get lost in the madness and ignore all the rules. Mike, this madness is all over the country has got to stop and now pray is not too late.

Kim Kardashian 35:12

So what was the nature of this relationship? And why did Rodney feel the need to write these letters to the lead detective? We’ll get into this and Detective Corwin’s correspondence next time on The System.

The System: The Case of Kevin Keith is a Spotify original series produced in partnership with Big City TV and Tenderfoot TV. I’m Kim Kardashian, your host and Executive Producer. From Big City TV, Executive Producer is Lori Rothschild Ansaldi. From Tenderfoot TV, Executive Producers are Donald Albright and Payne Lindsey. Lead Creative Producer is Meredith Stedman. Production, editing, and sound design by Tristen Bankston and Cameron Tagge. Production Manager is Tracy Kaplan. Music by Makeup and Vanity Set. Mixed and mastered by Cooper Skinner. With additional support by Devin Johnson. Additional sound design by Cooper Skinner. Associate Producer is Jaime Albright. Voice work by Miles Agee. From Spotify, Executive Producers are Julie McNamara and Liz Gateley with support from Podcast Executive Lila Benaissa. Senior Program Manager is Jessica Dao with support from Program Associate Matt Greene. Special thanks to Dawn Ostroff, Tracy Romulus, Christy Welder, Ollie Ayling, Travis White, and all the cross-functional teams at Spotify that helped bring this program to life.

Visit the link in our show page or in the episode description for more resources on this case. New episodes of The System: The Case of Kevin Keith, come out every Monday only on Spotify. Be sure to hit the Follow button so you never miss an episode.