The Death of Patricia Kimmi

Once again I have chosen a case in which authorities consider to still be open despite already getting one conviction in the case.  Considering the situation in the case and the information that has already been released, although my expectation that this case will again be brought to court are slim, my hope is high.  I generally try to stay away from cases that have not technically reached a conclusion because it means trying to go back and edit information long after I have compiled it, but this one is worth it for a few reasons.  First, as I said above, while I hope that this case does end up back in the courts I cannot say that I am sure that it ever will.  Secondly, this case pertains a legal issue (which I am more adamant about than true crime itself) that I found very interesting as well as hopeful.  

Some will say that this case began on November 7, 2009 when two of Patricia Kimmi's children called the police to not just report their mother missing but for authorities to see her home that had been left in a disarray.  Others will say this case began in 2008 when Patricia and her husband of 37 years, Eugene Kimmi Jr, divorced.  Then again I am sure there are those who would argue that this case went back further than that as it seems that those 37 years of marriage were full of abuse towards Patricia and her children by Eugene Kimmi.  It was said that Eugene was an alcoholic who was prone to violence and an abusive man.  While I cannot tell you exactly what happened in the Kimmi household I can tell you that at least in recent years Eugene Kimmi's alcoholism has been documented through the courts.  

At any rate, I will start with that day in November of 2009.  Patricia had failed to meet a friend that day.  They had planned to go shopping and when Patricia did not show and the friend tried several attempts to reach her without luck the friend called Patricia's daughter, Rita.  Rita went to her mother's house in Horton Kansas and found things to be strange.  Her mother was no where to be found and yet her car, phone and purse were all still at the home.  The home just simply did not look right to her as she knew her mother's habits.  Even the fact that items on the front porch were knocked over was unusual.  At some point Rita called one of her brothers and they decided to call the police to report Patricia missing.  Investigators too thought things looked strange.  Upon looking around they found some blood splatter on some rocks near the edge of her driveway.  As one investigator was driving down the rural road near the home he found some other things.... a ball cap and some blood splatter items such as a money clip, a velvet bag and a glove.  Inside the bag was ammunition but also some shell casings.  This area was cornered off and later a receipt from a store, dated November 6th was found not far away also.  What was not found was Patricia.

There was apparently little secret on who people thought was involved in Patricia's disappearance.... Eugene Kimmi Jr.  But, as we all know, thinking or knowing someone is involved in a crime is very different from being able to prove it.  Investigators really had little to go on, especially before testing the things they found nearby.  Then again, just because some things were on the road near Patricia's home did not necessarily mean they had anything to do with her disappearance.  First they were able to track down the store receipt owner. This is when things got a bit interesting.  The owner of the receipt claimed that he had been out in a nearby field on the night of November 6th drinking with some friends.  They observed a red truck acting strange in the area and at some point believed that they saw someone's legs kicking in the grass outside the truck at some point.  Because they were awaiting results from DNA testing from the items found on the side of the road investigators began obtaining DNA samples from people including Eugene and a man named Roger Hollister.

Who was Roger Hollister?  Well, he was a man who knew Eugene fairly well, and he owned a red pick up like the one described by the witness.  Well, at least he had owned one.  When questioned he had claimed that he had sold the truck prior to Patricia disappearing to a private citizen he did not know.  It was later discovered that he had actually sold the truck to a dealer in Nebraska after she disappeared but a week later called asking to buy the truck back, in which he did.  Then it seems he destroyed the truck.  It was later found crushed and burned at a salvage yard.  Then the DNA results came back.  The ball cap came back consistent (although I saw no actual percentage) with DNA belonging to Hollister.  The blood on the other items were believed to belong to Patricia.  So they had some really good leads, but they also had a lot of holes to fill... the biggest was just where was Patricia.

In January of 2010 authorities searched the Hollister farm, presumably looking for Patricia.  In March they searched the sawmill owned by Eugene Kimmi Jr. Both searches failed to find Patricia but the pressure was on both Roger Hollister, along with his wife Rebecca as well as Eugene Kimmi.  Then on March 4, 2010 they were able to make an arrest, but not for anything relating to Patricia.  Roger Hollister was arrested at that time for the attempted murder of his wife, Rebecca.  The story goes that in late February while Roger and Rebecca were driving down the road the conversation turned to the issue of Patricia.  Rebecca claimed she asked Roger why he had to be involved with the situation and he had become angry.  In the process he rammed straight on into a semi-truck.  They were injured but apparently not horribly.  But, this action allowed the authorities to not only bring Roger in but to press Rebecca.  It worked because Roger started talking about Patricia's disappearance.  Between the story Roger told, the evidence they had and the testimony of others, investigators pieced together what happened.  But they still did not have a body.  Then in May of 2010 Rebecca Hollister led investigators to a piece of land owned by Roger's brother but maintained by Roger.  It was there that they found a human skeleton, some of which was burnt.  The body would be identified as that of Patricia Kimmi.  One thing that plagued the investigators and later prosecutors however, was that due to the condition of her remains the medical examiner was unable to determine time, or even cause of death.  

Roger Hollister would go on trial in April of 2011 for Patricia's death.  One thing that it seems both the defense and the prosecutors agreed on was that Eugene Kimmi Jr. was involved in some way.  Prosecutors maintain to this day that they believe that Roger Hollister murdered and disposed of Patricia Kimmi's body based on the idea that he was promised $70,000 from Eugene Kimmi.  For their part the defense would also claim that Eugene was involved but that Roger had only taken Eugene to Patricia's home where it was Eugene who had kidnapped Patricia at some point and that due to his fear of Eugene Kimmi he had not been truthful with the investigators in the beginning of their quest.  Part of that fear of Eugene was likely not just of his behaviors and attitudes but the Kimmi family was well known in the small town and apparently there were those who felt they had a lot of pull when it came to legal issues.  Some likely maintain that thought today considering the fact that prosecutors have still not been able to charge Eugene for Patricia's death.

In the end Roger Hollister was convicted of 1st degree premeditated murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole.  I was unable to find anything more on the charges that got him initially arrested pertaining to the car accident with Rebecca.  It seems those charges may have been dropped.

Rebecca herself has always been under the scope of the investigators also but like Eugene it seems they cannot prove what she knew and when she knew it. In March of 2013 authorities did finally charge and arrest Rebecca with something at least.  She was charged with aiding a felon.  The filing maintained that from the day Patricia went missing until the day in which Roger was convicted Rebecca aided him with the intention of avoid arrest, trial or conviction.  The following week Roger Hollister died in prison.  Whether or not that had any bearing on her case is questionable because in June of 2013 authorities dismissed the charges against her.  

I will get back to the death of Roger Hollister in a bit because that in and of itself brought on an interesting legal issue but I want to move on a bit to Eugene Kimmi first.  In 2011 Patricia and Eugene's children filed a wrongful death suit against Roger and Rebecca Hollister and their father, Eugene. We all know that when it comes to civil suits the burden of proof is much lower than in a criminal trial.  At some point Rebecca was dropped from the suit but it continued through the courts.  It was settled in February of 2013.  Roger Hollister was assessed to pay $200,000.  Eugene's settlement with his children was confidential.  In April of 2012 Eugene was arrested for a violation of probation.  He had been previously convicted three times for DUI violations.  In October of 2010 he was sentenced to 12 months in jail but served only 90 days and put on probation.  A year later a judge supposedly revoked his probation when he tested positive for alcohol  He was sentenced again however to 12 months of probation but was required to spend 60 days in jail.  I found no information beyond his arrest in April of 2012 but this pattern is interesting to the case.  I am sure there are some who would argue that without knowing details Eugene could have very well developed this problem over the pressure involved in Patricia's disappearance and death.  His children would likely argue that issues with alcohol was hardly something new for Eugene.  One question that rises for me is, had he ever been arrested prior to 2010 for alcohol issues? If he had been, what was involved and why was he still seeing probation issues as late as 2012? If he had not ever had legal issues due to alcohol was it because he really did not have an issue or was it because his family had enough clout to hide it?  Or, could it be that investigators are still putting the pressure on Eugene and just have caught him more?  As of September of 2015, the prosecutor has said that not only is this investigation still open but recent tips have come in to make the case active.

Now, back to the death of Roger Hollister.  When I first read that he died on March 20, 2013 I have to admit my heart sunk a little bit.  It reminded me of one of the first true crime cases I had heard about through a television movie called Deadly Relations.  At the end of the movie they said that the man, Leonard Fagot who had been convicted of murder died while his appeal was still in the courts just as Roger Hollister's appeal was in the courts when he died. After announcing Fagot's death in Louisiana at the end of the movie, it went on to say that because his appeal was still in the courts his conviction was vacated and officially the crimes he was convicted of would be unsolved.  I remember being angered by this.  It seemed so unfair that his death had caused him to be considered not guilty of his crimes.  So again, when I saw that Roger Hollister had died while his appeal was in the courts I was at first angered a bit.  Then I became pleasantly surprised.  Kansas it seems is one of the few states that does not consider the appeal of a now deceased convicted felon a moot issue as most other states (and federal court) do.  Nor do they consider that simply based on the death of the petitioner that the conviction should be vacated.  Apparently they treat the appeal just as they would any other appeal.  Of course we all know in those sorts of hearings the lawyers are the ones who handle everything anyway so it is not like his actual presence was required.  I noticed some comments on articles that discussed the appeal issue with people commenting to not dismiss an appeal after an inmate has died is wasteful and ties up the courts.  I wholeheartedly disagree.  With that said, in August of 2014 the Kansas Supreme Court upheld Roger Hollisters conviction.  If the court had in fact decided that there was something to the appeal and that he was entitled to a new trial or a new sentence, that would have been a different issue, however, they did not rule that way. It is my opinion, that alive or dead, all appeals should be looked at and ruled on.  You never know when a decision made on that case could affect cases in the future and that is what our court system is all about.  So while those who argue that courts that deal with these sorts of appeal are wasting time, money and resources, they may in fact be wrong on all issues.

As of December 2015, there was nothing more I could find on this case.  Will Eugene Kimmi ever be charged?  Will Rebecca Hollister be held accountable for anything she knew?  As I said at the start, I am hopeful but my expectations are slim.  It is not as if cases have not gone to the courts decades after they occurred but most of those case started with little to few leads.  I find it unlikely that after all this time they will find the proof they need to bring charges that will stick against either of them.  Those who know the case and knew Patricia know who was involved and maybe that can be enough for them.  I know they want more justice and want to see at the very least Eugene charged, but what happens if he is and the case falls apart and he is acquitted?  It seems to me that that may be worse than what they have now.


Comments

  1. I watched this case on Investigation Discovery and in one of the pictures of her I saw Joey and Rory Feek. Are they related??

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Matthew Heikkila

The Quinn Hanna Gray Kidnapping

Patricia Rorrer