Family, friends remember slain teen - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

Family, friends remember slain teen

Esme Kenney Esme Kenney

By Dan Wells - bio | email
and Corey McConnell - bio | email

OVER THE RHINE, OH (FOX19) -  The flag at the School for Creative and Performing Arts is at half staff in honor of a slain student.

Esme Kenney, 13, was murdered over the weekend while she was jogging near her home. She was a double major in cello and voice at SCPA.

Students and teachers are all saddened and shocked.

"She is so careful with everything that she does, and she just loved everybody," said her friend, Marina Rodriguez. "She was always nice and smiling no matter what happened, so it was just awful to hear the way she was treated I can't even describe the words."

Those feelings are taking shape on the third floor of SCPA, where students drew and colored and hung pictures on the walls.

"There were a lot of tears, a lot of tears," said Dr. Jonathan Futch with Cincinnati Public Schools. "The hallway where her locker was is covered in cards and posters, teddy bears, I mean the floor is just littered with people's love."

Rodriguez says one card in particular seems sums up the life of 13-year old. It says, "You made a difference. You made us better."

The Kenney family issued a statement saying, "Esme was a wonderful young woman who, despite so many talents and abilities, had just started to come into her own. It's unfortunate that a promising young life was cut short in any way, but to have it end in such a brutal manner is unspeakably tragic."

A memorial service for Esme sponsored by SCPA will be held Tuesday, March 10 at 7 p.m. at the Aronoff Center. Another service will be held at her home church, St. John's Unitarian Universalist Church, on Wednesday, March 11.

The suspect in Esme's murder, Anthony Kirkland, was arraigned Monday morning and is being held on a $5.3 million bond. Kirkland was a convicted sex offender who was wanted for burglary and a stabbing when he allegedly killed Esme Kenney.

Police say Kirkland has murdered before, in 1987, when he was convicted of aggravated arson and manslaughter.

"Once somebody kills another person there's a propensity that it may repeat itself and unfortunately it has," said Cincinnati Police Chief Tom Streicher.

Former Hamilton County prosecutor Mike Allen says under the current law, Kirkland would have done all 25 of the years he was sentenced to in 1987, but old law enabled him to be paroled after only 16 years.

According to court documents, Kirkland has been in and out of jail since he was paroled for various crimes, and police say there's more to come.

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