The California Twelve: Kimberly Louise Long of Riverside Admission: April, 2009- Resides Women's Institute
On the day of October 5, 2003 Kimberly Long, her boyfriend Oswaldo "Ozzy" Conde and Jeff Dills spent the day bar hopping and riding motorcycles. After making the rounds at the fourth bar, Kim was intoxicated and the group drove home. Once there, Kim and Ozzy got into an argument and Kim left with Jeff for Jeff's house. After awhile she had Jeff drive her home, around 2 am, and discovered a grisly murder scene. Ozzy was dead, and there was blood everywhere. Kim called 911, and soon became the primary suspect in the police Investigation.
The biggest thorn in Kimberly Long's side was the testimony of her and Ozzy's friend, Jeff Dills. His statement was that he dropped Kimberly off between 1:20-1:30 am, whereas Kim claimed to have been dropped off at 2. This window of opportunity was what really got the gears turning for the police and prosecutors. The amount of rigidity in the body could have been present if the deceased had died around 30-40 minutes before the police arrived, and Jeff's statement put Kim in the house at 1:30 at the latest.
There are other factors as well. When Kim left Jeff's house she allegedly said she was still mad enough to "kick his ass", referring to Ozzy. Other reports paint her as an aggressive girlfriend who often got into physical spats with her boyfriends and exes. She had threatened one ex with a baseball bat which investigators determined could have been used to inflict the wounds Ozzy suffered, and a baseball bat was missing from the garage.
But all of those arguments, though tempting, cannot account for a few basic truths.
When Jeff dropped Kim off, she was obviously still intoxicated, stumbling into the house. Now let's be clear. She wasn't faking this, the fact is they had all been drinking since approximately 10am.
The next part of the prosecution's case supposes that once home, Kim and Ozzy began arguing yet again. With no Jeff to hold them back it apparently escalated and she grabbed a bat or some large object and proceeded to strike him with it in precisely the same spot on his head (so much so that the autopsy couldn't be any more certain than 'between 3-8' strikes on the head).
Now at the level of drunk she is described as being, she probably couldn't have connected with a punch to his nose if she had tried and he sat still while she did it. But the prosecution believes that not only did this girl who was quite a bit smaller than he was overpower her boyfriend and strike him multiple times in the same spot, but she apparently stopped herself before the argument, changed clothes, did the deed, cleaned up, and then changed back into the clothes she had been wearing all day, all while being on the verge of blackout drunk.
That's right. There was no blood found on Kim's clothes. Zero. Also no blood in the kitchen where she made the phone call from. Also no blood in the hallway to the bedroom where any clothes changing might have taken place. She was wearing the same clothes she had been cruising and bar hopping with all day and the prosecution knew it, but insisted she had destroyed whatever bloody clothes she would have had to have if she had committed this murder, because there was blood on all four walls surrounding the murdered Ozzy. There is no way to avoid it, she would have had blood on her. Her clothes, her hair, her skin - if she had taken a shower there would have likely been either traces of blood or the smell of bleach in the shower. And there's more.
A cigarette butt found at the scene matches neither Kim's nor Ozzy's DNA. Other suspects include an ex-girlfriend of Ozzy's, against who he had a standing Restraining Order. The cornerstone of the case, Jeff's putting Kim at the house at 1:30 isn't necessarily rock solid, and he died in a motorcycle accident before he could testify or be cross-examined.
My point is, regardless of all of the circumstantial evidence, of which there is plenty, it just doesn't add up to murder.
But the jury ate it up. Apparently all that circumstantial evidence was too much to ignore and Kimberly was convicted. The trial judge expressed serious doubts as to whether the right person had been convicted. She was sentenced to 15 years to life.
Next in the California 12 Series... Ed Contreras