Police: Anthony Kirkland suspect in several murders

Anthony Kirkland
Anthony Kirkland

By Sara Gouedy - bio | email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati Police say Anthony Kirkland is their prime suspect in several unsolved murders.

Kirkland admitted to police that he murdered 13-year-old Esme Kenney over the weekend.

The brother of Kirkland's first victim says he can no longer stand by without talking about his sister.

Kirkland was convicted of killing Leola Douglas back in 1987. He pled guilty to manslaughter in her death.

Her brother is questioning how Kirkland could have ever been set free, and says jail is where he should stay.

Stuart Stanton still hangs on a photo, one of the last pictures taken of his sister, Leola, before Kirkland took her life in 1987.

"It's hard to think about someone like that being dead," said Stanton. "I mean, she was so full of life.">

Leola's was a life that ended at a house on Ingleside Dr., when Kirkland knocked Leola out and set her on fire.

"By the time that I got there, everyone had gone, and I called my mother at the morgue and I just heard screams," said Stanton. "I ended up just picking them up at the morgue and my mother said the only way they identified her was by the uniform that she had on.">

Kirkland served 16 years in prison for Leola's death.

"The judicial system just failed," said Stanton.

Stanton says the prison system should never have released Kirkland.

"I feel like if I did the same thing to someone, I know I would be in jail forever," he said.

Instead, Stanton says Esme's murder, and word that Kirkland could be tied to even more deaths brought all the old suffering back to his family.

"I wish it had never happened," he said. "I wish he'd still been in jail. Maybe it never, well, maybe it never would have happened. Maybe a lot of things would never have happened."

Stanton says he plans on attending Kirkland's trial when that happens, and he says he hopes to one day meet the Kenney family because his family may be able to help them heal.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said Thursday that something needs to be done about keeping offenders in jail.

Deters says the county can't afford to house violent offenders and that all too often, the parole board is letting them go to help ease overcrowding, which is a recipe for disaster.

Kirkland's case goes to the grand jury on Tuesday, and when asked if he'll seek the death penalty, Deters said, "What do you think?"