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Jury convicts Wadley man for Jefferson County double homicide

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Editor's Note: The name of victim Corey Kemp was misspelled in this article. The Chronicle regrets the error. 

Kitchens  SPECIAL

A Wadley, Ga., man tried in Augusta for the stabbing deaths of two people, was convicted of multiple charges Friday and sentenced to serve two consecutive life sentences, without the possibility of parole, plus 30 years.

The trial for Willie Kitchens, 33, was moved from Jefferson County to Richmond County because there were not enough potential jurors there.

At the end of a five-day trial, the Richmond County Superior Court jury deliberated for nearly two hours before finding Kitchens guilty of two counts of murder, two counts of false imprisonment, armed robbery, burglary and criminal attempt to commit rape in the June 23, 2011, slayings of 22-year-old Melanie Troupe and 33-year-old Corey Kemp.

When firefighters extinguished the fire set in the rural trailer home where Troupe lived with her grandmother and child, Kemp’s body was found in the living room and Troupe’s body was found in her bedroom. He had been stabbed 27 times. Troupe, whose hands were tied behind her back with a shoestring, was stabbed 39 times.

When Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents who were questioning all of Troupe’s neighbors got to Kitchens, he was trembling. Before they could ask a single question, he blurted out “You got the wrong man. I didn’t do it,” Assistant District Attorney Kelly Jenkins reminded the jury in her closing argument.

Kitchens was obsessed with Troupe but she didn’t want anything to do with him, witnesses testified during the trial. Kitchens was always watching her and the night of June 23, 2011, he watched as Troupe’s grandmother loaded up her vehicle and took Troupe’s baby on a trip, the prosecutor said.

Kitchens became enraged when he realized that Troupe was romantically involved with Kemp and not him, Jenkins said. He broke into her home that night and attacked the couple.

Kitchens left his shoe prints in the victims’ blood and trailed blood out the back door and through a briar patch as he ran home.

Along the way he dropped a child’s shirt soaked in the victims’ blood and a white rag with a small amount of his blood, Jenkins said. The next afternoon, Troupe’s wallet was found in Kitchens’ yard.

But defense attorney Tobe Karrh of the public defender’s officer attacked the case against Kitchens.

Law enforcement officers never found the murder weapon nor any of Kitchens’ tennis shoes that matched the prints in the house.

Kitchens wasn’t the only person seen wearing the shirt with Kemp’s blood on it, Karrh said.

There was no telling how long that white rag with Kitchens’ blood on it had been out in the woods, Karrh argued.

There was no evidence Kitchens was obsessed with Troupe and there was no physical evidence of rape, he said.

Harrh’s criticisms of the law enforcement in investigating the murders were meritless, District Attorney Hayward Altman told the jury.

But, he said, there was one aspect in which they had failed Troupe and Kemp – when there was no prosecution of Kitchens when he choked and beat a former girlfriend, a woman who told investigators after the murders that Kitchens had raped her after tying her hands behind her back.

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myfather15 03/08/14 - 06:46 am
This man is convicted of a

This man is convicted of a premeditated, BRUTAL murder; stabbing two people to death, on stabbed 27 times the other 39 times. Raping or at least attempting to rape one of the victims and he gets life in prison???

Honest people, is there ANYTHING one can get the death penalty for? If not this case, then exactly WHAT warrants the death penalty in this liberal society we live in?

The liberals have successfully abolished the death penalty, without literally abolishing it!! They've flood it with so much red tape; hearing after hearing after hearing, that it will literally bankrupt most Counties, therefore they don't even go after the death penalty anymore!!

So now, this pure piece of filth, get's to sit in a prison cell the rest of his life, eating three meals and day, potato chips, candy bars, watching tv, playing ball and ALL at the tax payer's expense for many years!!

WOW, you rape someone, stab them 27 times, stab another person 39 times and they still don't want to go for the death penalty?

Maybe we need to start a organization that assists financially, Counties prosecuting death penalty cases.

jimmymac 03/08/14 - 12:27 pm

The judicial system is being ruined by liberal judges and lazy prosecutors. They're more concerned with haveing an empty docket than seeing to it that criminals are properly tried and punished. Throw them all out and get people in that will follow the letter of the law. Judges should have sentencing discretion taken away from them because they've done nothing but abuse the power.

Young Fred
Young Fred 03/08/14 - 08:14 pm

Wrong place at the wrong time!

This man never had a chance. From the very beginning, nothing was expected of him. We all do our turkey once a year, and shake our heads. But this man never had a chance. If he had a dad in his life, a dad willing to...

This whole thing sickens me... it makes me want to sob! We all now why it is happening, but we are all to scared to do anything about it!

myfather15 03/09/14 - 07:06 am
Young Fred

Huh? Care to explain?

itsanotherday1 03/09/14 - 08:06 pm
I suspect Young Fred's

I suspect Young Fred's comment was tongue in cheek. Reading the story though, there are enough questions unanswered to warrant a "non" death penalty verdict. When there is smoking gun, indisputable, eye witness, ironclad evidence; I'm all for it.

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