Investigation Discovery’s ‘Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda: Sex, Lies, and Surveillance Tape’ follows the gruesome murder of teen Willie McKay in a parking lot in Colorado in June 1995. The episode documents how old-fashioned police work and following leads helped the police catch the killer. If you want to learn more about the case and the perpetrator’s identity, here’s what we know.
How Did Willie McKay Die?
On June 24, 1995, store clerk Claretta Chandler was wrapping up the last of the customers and was about to shut down. Suddenly, around 9:50 pm, she and the clients in the shop in Colorado Springs, Colorado, heard a loud pop outside. Initially, they thought it might be a car backfiring. A few seconds later, they heard a second pop, and a blood-soaked young person walked in to collapse on the floor. They immediately called 911 for help as one onlooker tried to help the injured man.
Police arrived at the scene and identified the young guy as 20-year-old Willie McKay, who had been shot in the parking lot of the car. He was rushed to the Memorial Hospital in critical condition, where he succumbed to his injuries. His autopsy report stated that he had suffered a fatal chest wound from a .380 gun. His sister, Tina Parker, described Willie as a good brother who had been struggling lately but did not deserve to die like this.
Who Killed Willie McKay?
Investigators started to look for the gun casing in the parking lot area of the convenience store to get an idea about the exact location where the shooting occurred. As per the show, it was a difficult task since that particular portion of the town was notorious for criminal activities. Lt. Brian Ritz of the Colorado Springs Police Department said, “It wasn’t unlikely that we will stumble across spent shelling that had nothing to do with tonight’s shooting.”
However, they quickly retrieved a perfectly formed .380-caliber slug that still had some bullet wipe, indicating that it had been fired recently. They also found a witness named James McGraw, who had been at the scene and watched the whole thing play out from a distance. He said he had been at the station getting his car’s tank filled when he saw a gang of young men fighting amongst themselves. Suddenly, one of them brought out a gun and fired a blank shot in the air before shooting another guy.
James said that as the others got in their cars and fled, the victim made his way toward the convenience store. He ran behind Wille and tried to help him as the emergency responders arrived to take him away. However, he had unfortunately not heard any of the names of the guys fighting inside the parking lot. The investigators also got surveillance footage from the store and the name “D” from Tina, who alleged that the concerned individual fought with the victim about two weeks ago.
Tina further claimed that she was taking out the trash when she saw “D” pull out a gun and blank fire while arguing with Willie. From the footage that showed one of the vehicles the alleged perpetrators fled in, the investigators traced it to an individual named Dirk Waters. He became a suspect since his registered address was less than three miles from the crime scene. However, Dirk showed up with Angela Cutter, who was also a witness to the shooting.
Dirk claimed that he and Willie had a feud recently since the latter had been alleging that he had a thing for Tina, though Dirk was married. This made Dirk furious since it could cost him his employment chances in the army. He admitted to threatening Willie about two weeks ago but refused to acknowledge he shot him the night before. Angela contended that she, Dirk, and another individual named David “Junior” Reece were hanging out in a friend’s apartment and had gone to the store to pick up more alcohol and snacks.
She maintained that she knew nothing about the shooting until she read it in the papers the following morning. The police did not have probable cause to detain them and subsequently let them go. However, the investigation took a new turn when they received an anonymous tip claiming that Junior, a just-released convict, had shot Willie. Officers staked his apartment to find his girlfriend, Maria Bates, who was also at the party.
She corroborated most of Dirk and Angela’s story but claimed that Angela knew about the shooting. The investigators also found a snapshot from the surveillance footage that showed Angela in the vicinity of the injured Wille, thus refuting her initial claim. When brought down for questioning again, Angela confessed that it was Junior who had shot Willie and her fear of him prevented her from informing the police.
Where is David “Junior” Reece Today?
After interviewing Angela, the investigators had a concise picture of what had happened that day. Willie and Dirk were having a brawl when Junior pulled out his gun and fired a blank shot in the air. Willie then proceeded to confront Junior, and the latter ended up shooting him. Junior was arrested and convicted of manslaughter and was sentenced to 16 years in prison. Dirk and Angela were not booked for their cooperation with the police. Junior has been released from prison after serving his sentence and has no current address registered in the public domain.
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