Few things have trpubled me like the murder of Kimberly Kohne.
Kimberly Kohne was a PDQ Pizza delivery driver in Matthews who just was just a month shy of her 21st birthday, when she was shot and killed for tailgating. PDQ was a pizza delivery business a predecessor to what is now Domionos in Matthews.
Sadly the night of her murder I had driven past Kohne and her assilant just momnets before she was shot and killed in the parking lot of the Matthews, North Carolina Post Office.
My black Mercedes 300 D was one of a dozen tips that was turned up during the following investigation. I was targeted by police who were surprised when I called to say I might know something about the murder of Kim Kohne. The Matthews cops quickly realized I was a better witness than a suspect. I didn't see the killer shoot her or even realize he had a gun. I just saw a jerk raging on some pizza delivery girl in a Honda Prelude.
I would spend the better part of 2 hours with Matthews Police Sgt. Sutton and a Charlotte homicide detective trying to remember the car the shooter was driving. I was little help. We even drove to a Nissan dealer on Independence Blvd in hopes I could recall the car or even the color. The more I thought about the car the more uncertian I was that it was even a Nissan. I was in fact a terrible witness. Worse I was a terrible person for not recognizing what was happening or even slowing down.
From the Charlotte Observer:
Police say a man who surrendered to authorities told them he waved over Matthews pizza driver Kimberly Annette Kohne, stood in front of her car and waved his .357 Magnum.
Police say he told them the gun fired accidentally, shooting her in the face.
``He didn't have any idea who she was,' said Matthews police Sgt. B.L. Sutton.
``He didn't even know if she was a man or a woman."
Robert Calvin Craig Jr., 27, turned himself in to police Monday.
He is charged with murder in the death of Kohne and is in the Mecklenburg County Jail under a suicide watch.
Family members say Craig, an unemployed construction worker, surrendered two days after his mother died of cancer. They described him as a devoted son who sat by her bedside for most of a year.
``This is so sad,' said his aunt, Charlotte Kriete. ``It just leaves me with an empty feeling.'
But family members also say he had a drug and alcohol problem. And his ex-wife says he had a violent temper - that he beat her and once pointed a loaded gun in her face.
She filed assault charges against him twice, but both times dropped them.
``It's senseless and I hate that it had to come to this for someone to realize how violent this man is,' said Anita Craig, 24, who divorced Craig last July.
Craig cried Monday when he turned himself in to Matthews police. At first, he claimed someone else in the car killed Kohne, police said.
Later he changed his story, Sutton said.
Craig told police that he and his two sons, ages 7 and 5, were riding in the back seat of a white Nissan Maxima Feb. 2 at about 8 p.m.
A female friend was driving the car, with her boyfriend sitting beside her. Police declined to identify the couple.
Police believe this is what happened:
At about 8 p.m., the car was heading west on Old Monroe Road from Union County toward Matthews when Kohne's Honda Prelude tried to pass.
Kohne was returning from her last pizza delivery of the night. Unable to pass because of an oncoming car, she pulled in behind the Nissan.
Craig told police he was drunk and became angry because he thought she was tailgating.
The driver of the Nissan turned right into the parking lot of the Matthews Post Office to let Kohne's car pass.
But Craig motioned for Kohne to follow, which she did, pulling in behind the Nissan.
After the shot was fired, Craig looked in the driver's side window. He jumped back in the Maxima and ordered the driver to flee.
Craig told investigators that he didn't realize anyone had been killed until reading an article in the next day's Charlotte Observer.
Craig's arrest brought some peace to some of Kohne's family and friends.
``I'm glad that there is a little bit of finality to it.
I am glad that they found the killer,' said Joe Todd, a PDQ pizza restaurant manager who was to marry Kohne Oct. 5.
`It almost makes it more tragic that it was just a random-type thing.'
Nearly two weeks after the shooting Craig turned himself in.
Robert Calvin Craig pled guilty to 2nd Degree Murder and was given a life sentence on July 19, 1991. After serving 20 years he was paroled on August 2, 2011 under the "Fair Felons" act, and ordered to begin a period of indefinate parole. He was released from parole on July 31, 2016.
Since that cold February night I've made a point of being more aware, realizing that just noticing things and being alert is not enough. I could have saved Ms. Kohne's life had I been just a little more alert or aware.
Kimberly Annette Kohne was born March 4, 1970 in Calhoun Alabama, she died alone on a cold winter night in 1991 and I've been troubled by her murder all these years.