Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Capture of Serial Killer Arohn Kee


After a four-month legal battle, Kee was extradited to New York and faced trial on 22 felony counts in four rapes and the murders of Paola Illera, Johalis Castro and Rasheeda Washington. DNA evidence linked Kee to six of the seven cases. In the sevenththe murder of Illerahe was implicated by a pubic hair that had been found on the victim and saved in an evidence room for nine years.

Prosecutor Richard Plansky
Prosecutor Richard Plansky

Prosecutors John Irwin and Richard Plansky presented a devastating barrage of testimony and DNA evidence against Kee at trial in the fall of 2000. They called 130 prosecution witnesses, including the two rape victims who recounted for an astonished courtroom audience Kee's "lucky" and "love me" comments during the violent acts.

But it was one defense witness who stole the show: Kee himself, who insisted to his attorney that he be the first defense witness stand. Over two days of testimony, Kee giggled like a schoolgirl, cried like a baby and expressed fury that authorities would dare prosecute him. His monologuelargely uninterrupted by the judge, the prosecutors or his attorneyscovered such themes as pop culture, narcotics, rap music, jail food and his deep thoughts on the criminal justice system.

As many of his victims' loved ones watched from the gallery with slack jaws, Kee spun a bizarre tale explaining how he had come to be charged with brutal serial violence against young women. He claimed police had framed him to cover up a medical examiner's scheme to harvest and sell human organs. He explained that his DNA was planted in what he called "genetic shuffling."

The jury didn't buy it, and when the foreman announced a guilty verdict, the courtroom erupted in cheers and cries of "Yes!" A few minutes later, as he was being led away to await sentencing, Kee scowled toward the gallery and spat a profane curse at the entire assembly.

Outside of court, some relatives of Kee's victims charged up to a gaggle of reporters and demanded to know why the press had largely ignored the attacks as they were happening. ''Where were they in the beginning?'' one man shouted at the reporters as friends restrained him.

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