July 30, 2001
Mark Ober, Hillsborough State Attorney
5th Floor, County Courthouse Annex
Tampa, Florida 33602
For the Personal Attention of Mark Ober, Hillsborough State Attorney
Dear Mr Ober,
I am in receipt of your letter concerning your review of the circumstances surrounding the death of our Son, Kevin McGinley.
Considering the volume of evidence we provided to your office, I confess to being shocked at your failure to respond, with particularity, to any of that evidence.
My wife and I were both impressed, at our recent meeting, with your assurances regarding your Office's desire to assist us, including your own personal recognition of the trauma caused by the violent loss of a loved one. Unfortunately, the recent actions of your office do not appear to substantiate those assurances. On being informed of your decision not to proceed with criminal charges or further investigations in this case, I made two simple and reasonable requests that any caring and proficient agency would immediately have respected and complied with.
Despite repeated phone calls and messages to your Deputy, Karen Stanley, these requests and my calls remain ignored as of the date of this letter.
Mr Ober, common decency and humanity dictates that we be informed of where our Son was killed. We are entitled to, and demand an answer to that question. It can be answered with one ten second phone call to the UPS driver. Why have we been forced to endure three and a half years of agony and uncertainty by the refusal to provide us with an answer?
As you are fully aware, there are two completely contradicting FHP accident reports giving totally different accounts of where Kevin was struck. You personally stated that you found this to be very disturbing. It would be incomprehensible that your investigator would not have established which of these reports was the accurate one. This issue is of fundamental importance in establishing the events that lead to Kevin's death. Furthermore, it is of crucial significance in establishing the integrity of Corporal Jetton's Investigation Report. This report forms the heart of all investigations by FDLE, Tampa Police and your own State Attorney determinations in this case. We have already provided you with incontrovertible evidence to show that this report is inaccurate, misleading and withholding of critical evidence. The responsibilities of your Office surely dictate that you establish whether there has been intent to submit a knowingly false report in furtherance of a criminal investigation. If your Office is seen to willingly accept erroneous evidence from Police Investigator's, without establishing the cause or implementing measures to prevent further reoccurrence, then all subsequent prosecutions by your agency will be open to criticism and challenge.
With respect to our second request, I can see no valid reason why this would not have been accepted and welcomed. As you are aware, we are not just victims in this case, we are witnesses to much of what has transpired over the last three and a half years. It is our investigation that is responsible for the considerable evidence presented to your office. Clearly it would not be possible or practical for us to detail every item of evidence in our possession, furthermore, without knowing the direction that your investigation was proceeding in, we were unable to know whether evidence we possess might be relevant to inquiries you were pursuing. If your office had been conducting a thorough investigation, it would not only appear reasonable, but essential, that all evidence be reviewed and every effort made to ensure that nothing had been overlooked.
Mr Ober, we presented you with 1500 pages of evidence showing that our Son, Kevin, was the victim of a brutal and prolonged attack upon him, which ended with him being pushed to his death beneath the wheels of an oncoming tractor-trailer. Our wonderful, precious Son endured 15 minutes of sheer terror and violence before his body was crushed and his blood and skin tissue spread all over the surface of that highway. The evidence we presented you with proved that these persons had been spoiling for a fight all night. They openly admit that Lloyd (a person with a prior violent criminal record) had been yelling homophobic insults at people all evening. They have admitted to having been involved in a prior fight that night. The investigation report states that they instigated this conflict by their insults. They openly admit that their fight with Kevin was an unfair attack consisting of two onto one person (evidence indicates that there were more than just two). The eye witnesses and 911 records prove that they continued to attack Kevin in the middle of the highway, at a time when he was clearly in distress and unable to protect himself. The same evidence proves that this attack was maintained for fifteen minutes or more. I do not need to quote the statutes to you for you to know that these people are criminally responsible for Kevin's death beyond any reasonable doubt, on that evidence alone. In addition to this, however, you have further evidence to show that these persons are not only criminally responsible, but are guilty of Murder. You have statements from witnesses that accurately identified these people. They were able to provide the police with information that Lloyd had a prior criminal history of violence and disregard for human life. They provided sworn statements that Lloyd confessed to them that he had killed our Son. You then have a completely independent eyewitness who observed this very act of murder.
In addition to this you have Michael Lipp, guilty of perjury, withholding evidence, lying to police during a criminal investigation, leaving the scene of a fatality, driving with a suspended license and without insurance and clearly engaged in a conspiracy to obstruct and pervert the course of Justice.
How in God's name, Mr Ober, can your office justify its refusal to bring criminal charges in this case?
A two-paragraph response to this evidence represents an insult to my Family and to the value of Kevin's life.
At our meeting on March 6th, you stated that your office was a prosecuting agency, not an investigating agency. Despite your recognition of this fact, you have chosen to ignore the request of ourselves and Chief Council Steve Twist, a former Deputy Chief of the Arizona State Attorney's Office, that a Special Prosecutor or Grand Jury be requested to investigate the evidence presented to you. Instead you assigned one of your own investigator's to this case. It appears from your letter that your investigator restricted himself to reviewing the police reports and the evidence we provided to you. His only physical investigation would appear to consist of the interview of one single eyewitness and his ex wife. Given the volume of evidence provided to you and the major concerns surrounding the integrity and actions of Corporal Jetton in this case, this clearly confirms your initial statement that your office is not an investigating agency. You are obviously aware that your agency is not equipped to conduct what has become a complex murder investigation involving very real concerns of possible criminal misconduct on the part of investigating officers and agencies. The evidence presented to you demands a Full Independent Investigation to establish the truth.
Until a FULL AND PROPER INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION has been undertaken to thoroughly address those facts, and all the other evidence you are fully aware of, any attempt to reach a determination in this case is totally irresponsible.
Let us be very clear about one thing, Mr Ober. Tampa Police Dept. has never investigated this case. I have correspondence from the City of Tampa stating this quite unequivocally. Florida Department of Law Enforcement have never conducted an independent investigation into Kevin's death or the allegations of misconduct by the investigating officers. They have never independently interviewed one single witness in relation to this case. Their involvement has solely consisted of relying on the investigation report of Corporal Jetton and sitting in on a few interviews where they have, according to their records, only ever asked one question of a witness. Florida Highway Patrol have refused to investigate this as anything other than a traffic accident. They have refused to investigate the reason why there are two conflicting accident reports, why Corporal Jetton has dismissed reliable independent witnesses on the say so of obvious suspects, or why his report contains false statements, withholds evidence and misrepresents the evidence of the scene.
In short, Mr Ober, there has never been a credible, competent investigation of the Murder of our Son.
The laws of Florida require a member of the Grand Jury to request the Grand Jury to investigate any crime that they have reason to believe occurred within their jurisdiction. I believe it is your duty to alert the Grand Jury to the need for an investigation into our Son's murder. The brutality of this crime demands a full independent investigation; given the background of this case, only a Grand Jury could now be considered free enough of possible compromise to be deemed impartial.
Your letter referred to a unanimous decision that there is insufficient competent evidence to bring a prosecution. I would respectfully request a clarification of that statement. Are you stating that the evidence we have provided is not competent? Or are you referring to the Police Investigation as not being competent? Are you saying that completely independent eyewitnesses and the 911 calls are somehow not competent but the statements of our Son's killers are? At our meeting you made the statement "if we prosecute this case the defense attorneys would call FHP as defense witnesses". The evidence, which proves that these people are criminally responsible for Kevin's death, is substantial and more than sufficient to overcome the obvious failings of the FHP investigation. The only reason I can see for not proceeding with a Grand Jury investigation would be a desire to protect the Police behavior in this case from Judicial scrutiny. This is an issue of extreme concern and it is beholden on you, the elected State Attorney, to clarify your position and give a detailed explanation justifying your refusal to bring criminal charges or to request an independent investigation.
The actions of the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office, with regard to this case, leaves much to explain. The acting attorney in this case, Wayne Chalu, along with your predecessor, Harry Lee Coe, have repeatedly stated that the FHP investigation was both thorough and competent. Do you concur with those statements and is that still the position of your Office?
Mr Chalu closed this case on two separate occasions when FHP were publicly stating that this was an active ongoing investigation and they were continuing to pursue leads and conduct additional interviews. Why did he rush to close a case when the evidence was still being gathered? On February 4th 2000, Mr Chalu told Governor Bush's attorney, Marty McDonnell, unequivocally that the case was closed (this was the 3rd time), yet on February 3rd your office had issued witness subpoenas that had yet to be served. Furthermore, internal memo's date Feb 9th 2000 show that your office was not even aware that witnesses had stated that Lloyd had a violent criminal background and that these same witnesses had stated that Lloyd confessed to them that he had murdered our Son. These witnesses had come forward in July 1998; they were referred to in the Investigation report submitted to your office in March 1999. Your office closed this case on February 4th 2000 without even reading the statements of these important witnesses. To compound this inexplicable failure, in the memo dated February 9th 2000, your attorney, Sharon Vollrath, concludes that the witness statements will make no difference to the disposition of the case before she had even read them. Are you aware, Mr Ober, that three important witnesses in this case were not interviewed until March 2000, six weeks after your office had closed the case?
These facts clearly give rise to concerns as to whether your Staff could have arrived at their determination in a truly unbiased manner. I would certainly like to be informed as to whether any of the members of your homicide committee have had any prior active involvement in this case.
This case is rapidly becoming an issue of great Public concern. The conclusions of the Florida Highway Patrol Investigation Report have been exposed as being without any foundation and contrary to all known evidence. There can no longer be any pretence that this case has been thoroughly investigated by all agencies concerned, that myth has also been exposed. There are growing concerns that the agencies involved have acted in a manner intended to protect the reputation of Florida Highway Patrol rather than serve the interests of Truth and Justice. If the Public's perception of this case is that the Agencies involved are prepared to Protect killers, rather than Prosecute them, that perception can only serve to cause enormous harm to the integrity of Florida's Law Enforcement and the Public's faith in the Government and Judicial System of this State.
We have been forced to bring this to the attention of the public by the consistent refusal to recognize the failings of the initial investigation into Kevin's murder. The Public cannot fail to recognize the weight of evidence proving Kevin lost his life due to the violent and criminal actions of those persons responsible. Nor will they understand the refusal to prosecute such vicious killers and the injustice that this represents. The clearly inadequate response of your Office is causing us to go even further to gain the Justice to which Kevin is entitled. We will now take steps to ensure that the entire population of this Country is made aware of this travesty of Justice. We will publish to the world every letter that we have sent to authorities pleading for Justice, and presenting the evidence that has been ignored for so long. We will publish every response in its entirety, every refusal to recognize the evidence and every refusal to implement an investigation into the misconduct that is so apparent throughout this case. The Public will draw their own conclusions about those in authority who have failed to act, in spite of their awareness of what has taken place. We will saturate the State of Florida with adverts and mail-shots pleading for the public's support in this matter. I know that every Parent who reads this will relate to the loss of a child and the anger will grow towards those who have set these killers free to inflict their violence on someone else's child.
We take no pleasure from being forced to expose this. In fact my heart goes out to all the conscientious Law Enforcement Officer's whose good work and dedication could be tarnished by the actions of others. We care for the reputation of this State and the good people who live here, unlike some who are prepared to turn their back on Justice for political purposes. Unfortunately we have been given no alternative.
The persons that killed our Son were seen standing at the side of the highway laughing and jeering at Kevin while he stood in the middle of the highway, dazed hurt and defenseless. They laughed while they waited for the bloody spectacle of his body being crushed and mangled beneath the wheels of the oncoming traffic. For fifteen minutes they waited, taking the opportunity during breaks in the traffic to go and inflict more pain and injuries on him. When, by a miracle, all the vehicles managed to avoid him and he got to the side of the highway, these individuals refused to be denied their hunger for blood and pushed our precious boy to his death. How can anyone condone such actions? How can any person who has sworn to uphold the law allow such an atrocity to go unpunished, regardless of the cost to images or reputations? If Law Enforcement has nothing to hide they would welcome a Grand Jury Investigation and delight in seeing these persons indicted for the terrible crime they have committed. If they have something to hide then it is your sworn duty, Mr Ober, to convene a Grand Jury Investigation into their actions.
A failure to prosecute in this case represents an abandonment of every principle on which the Justice System of this great Country is based. Worse still, it sends a message to the violent criminals that this State condones acts of brutality and violence against society. If these killers have remained at liberty solely because of incompetence on the part of the police, then the immunity laws will protect the officers concerned; but at least measures can be taken to prevent such actions from happening again. If the Grand Jury determines that their actions go beyond incompetence then they should rightly be held accountable under the law.
There is nothing to be lost by requesting a Grand Jury Investigation. A failure to do so, however, will most certainly result in your losing the trust and confidence of the people you are here to serve. That is too high a price to pay.
I implore you, Mr Ober, to do the right thing and finally allow Kevin access to a proper and thorough investigation and the Justice to which he is entitled. Should you fail to grant this entitlement, my family and the citizens of this Country will expect a full and detailed explanation of your reasons for denying our Son his right to Justice.
Hugh and Jill McGinley (Kevin's Parents)