Who Was Robert Kelly? How Did He Die?

Investigation Disocvery’s ‘Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda: No Good Deed’ chronicles the unfortunate death of a 34-year-old Colorado Springs shoe store manager Robert Kelly. The officers were baffled by the amount of blood at the crime scene, with one of the investigators on the show quipping how it seemed like he was killed by Jack the Ripper. However, the coroner soon discovered he was not murdered but died due to an unfortunate mishap.

Who was Robert Kelly?

34-year-old Robert Kelly worked as the Manager of a shoe store chain at the Chapel Hills Mall in Colorado Springs in El Paso County, Colorado. His co-workers and family described him as one gigantic fellow — over six feet tall and weighing more than 200 pounds. Portrayed as a sweetheart and kind of a teddy bear guy, he was dedicated to his work and never argued with his customers or subordinates. Robert always opened the store at 10:00 AM and had the store ready before the workers came in and started serving the customers.

Robert’s mother said her son always talked about opening his own business until he had a difficult break-up with his long-term girlfriend a few years ago. She said he had changed since then, sacrificed his ambitions, and seemed somewhat depressed. On Saturday, Jessica Barnes, then 16, a part-time worker at the shoe store, reached her workplace at around 10:00 AM to find the chain mail still down in front. She was expecting her Manager to be there as usual and called out to him several times.

When Robert did not answer Jessica’s knocks and shouts, she took the store key and went to the back of the store to unlock the door. The lights inside were still off, but she noticed his bag on the counter. Thinking her Manager might have reached the store but not switched on the lights yet, the young part-time employee went to do it but slipped and fell. As she glanced at the ground, she started screaming to see blood all over the floor and an unresponsive Robert lying face down.

Robert Kelly Died From Cardiac Arrhythmia

The investigators and mall security arrived to find Robert had bled all over the floor. They further observed the sloping floor caused the blood to pool all over. Former Lt. Joe Kenda explained malls are built with a slight downward cant to the floor so that the building does not get flooded if the sprinkler system goes off. As a result, Robert’s body was also downhill slightly, and gravity allowed the contents of the body to empty onto the floor. Judging by the blood color and room temperature, they deduced he had been dead for eight to ten hours.

There were no shell casings or murder weapons nearby, and the officers had to wait for the coroner to arrive and state the cause of death. Yet, they observed one critical piece of evidence — Robert’s feet were crossed. According to the show, when someone dies standing erect, the feet always cross over each other. The detectives interviewed a visibly shaken Jessica to learn Robert was very dedicated, barring his habit of going in the back for a while, even when the store was open.

After the coroner arrived, the officers turned over the body to discover the shocking cause of death. Robert’s face had been completely crushed and had attained a shade of royal purple. They also noticed a hypodermic needle lodged in a vein of his arm. Moreover, the 34-year-old had needle track marks all over his arms, indicating he was a heavy drug user. The officers searched the premise for drug paraphernalia to find a charred spoon, a lighter, and cocaine. With the startling discovery, the cause of death dawned upon them.

According to the show, Robert closed the store the previous night and took out his drug kit after completing the paperwork. However, he had a drug overdose and suffered a massive heart attack while injecting himself with cocaine. He had a terminal collapse, and a 200-pound man falling at 32 feet per second generated enough force to crush his face as he fell on the floor like a ton of bricks. The coroner conducted an autopsy to confirm their theory, concluding he had suffered a massive cardiac arrhythmia due to an immense amount of cocaine intake.

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