the killer at thurston high
kip kinkel's confession (transcript)

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Tape Recorded Interview
Kipland Philip Kinkel/Detective Al Warthen

AW  This is detective Warthen, Springfield Police Department. Today's date is Thursday, May 21, 1998. The time is at 9:51 A.M. This will be a taped conversation with the last name of Kinkel, K-I-N-K-E-L, first of Kipland, K-I-P-L-A-N-D, middle of Philip, P-H-I-L-I-P. Date of birth 08-30-82.

AW  Kip, what I've done is I've turned on a tape recorded so I can tape record our conversation because, you know, I'm not the best note taker in the world and a couple things that I want to go back over with you and earlier I advised you of your rights, is that not correct?

KK  That's correct.

AW  Okay...Can you speak up just a little bit, I'm a little hard--

KK  Yep.

AW  And, you know, we talked briefly and yesterday you were involved in an incident where a gun was...You purchased a gun at school from Korey Ewert and your dad came here to the Springfield Police Department and took you home after that is done. Is that correct?

KK  Yes.

AW  Okay...Let's go back to the earlier case with the gun that you bought from Korey. Why did you buy that gun? Do you remember why you bought the gun?

KK  I don't know.

AW  Did you buy it with the intention of hurting somebody?

KK  No.

AW  Had you and your dad discussed whether you should own a gun or

anything like that?

KK  Yeah.

AW  Okay...And what...And he said what?

KK  That it would be better if I didn't.

AW  He said what?

KK  It's kind of complicated, I don't remember.

AW  Okay...Did he think that you were too young for a gun?

KK  Yeah.

AW  Alright

KK  I don't know what's wrong with me.

AW  Okay.

KK  My head just doesn't work right.

AW  Why doesn't it work right?

KK  I don't know I can't--

AW  When you brought the gun to school yesterday, or when you purchased it yesterday, did you know that was the right thing to do or the wrong thing to do.

KK  I knew it was a wrong thing.

AW  You knew it was a wrong thing to do?

KK  Yeah.

AW  Okay....But you didn't have any intent yesterday, or at least that's what you told me yesterday, of hurting anybody. Is that correct?

KK  Right.

AW  Okay....So when you got home with your dad. Is dad angry with you?

KK  Yes.

AW  Okay...And you left here just around noon, I believe, so did you go straight home?

KK  We stopped at Burger King.

AW  You stopped at Burger King, that's the one out there at 58th & Main?

KK  It's the Mohawk Burger King.

AW  You went to the Mohawk Burger King?

KK  Yeah.

AW  Okay....So do you know what time it was when you got home?

KK  Around one o'clock, one-thirty.

AW  okay....Tell me what happens when you get home?

KK  I had no other choice....I couldn't

AW  You were feeling really guilty?

KK  Yeah.

AW  Okay....So your dad has guns, right?

KK  Yes.

AW  And where does he keep his guns?

KK  He usually keeps them in his tennis locker at the swim and tennis club. But we could always shoot it once in awhile and so they were home

this time....Most of the time they're not home, only the rifles are there.

AW  So only the 10.22 Ruger rifle was there?

KK  Yeah, mm hum.

AW  And where was that at?

KK  I had that in my room.

AW  You had that in your room?

KK  Mm hu (yes).

AW  Was it loaded or unloaded?

KK  It was unloaded, (unintelligible).

AW  So the ammunition was in your room?

KK  It was in my parent's room but I had the gun.

AW  Okay....So was your dad...Did he hit you or anything like that?

KK  No.

AW  Okay...Was he yelling or out of control or?

KK  I couldn't I couldn't I had no other choice God.

AW  You told me earlier he was in the kitchen.

KK  Yeah.

AW  And was that around 4 o'clock or could it of been earlier?

KK  I think it was earlier.

AW  You think it was earlier?

KK  I'm not sure.

AW  Okay...Let me ask you this

KK  What?

AW  Had I been a visitor in your home, would you have shot your dad?

KK  I don't think so.

AW  You don't think so.

KK  I don't know I just I had no other choice he was saying all this I . .

AW  He was saying all that stuff, kind of....He was saying a lot of

Negative stuff about you. Like what was he saying about you?

KK  (crying)

AW  Okay...He's mad at you because you got caught in school with the gun, right?

KK Right.

AW  Okay.

KK And I (garbled) all his friends and everything knew (garbled).

AW  So he was feeling ashamed and embarrassed because you did something wrong, is that right?

KK Right.

AW  Okay.

KK I didn't want to. I loved my dad that's why I had to

AW  You love him so that's why you had to kill him?

KK Yes.

AW  Okay...So what's he doing in the kitchen when you come in.

KK  He was drinking something, I don't know.

AW  Was his back to you?

KK  Yes. Oh god...

AW  Okay...Earlier you told me you walked up behind him and shot him in the head. Is that right?

KK  Basically, yeah.

AW  Basically?

KK  Yeah.

AW  Okay...Did you stand away from him while you shot him?

KK  Yeah.

AW  How far were you when you shot him?

KK  About ten feet.

AW  Ten feet. And how many times did you shoot him?

KK  Once.

AW  And where did that bullet hit him?

KK  Right above the ear.

AW  Right behind the ear.

KK  Yeah, above, yeah Oh my god (crying)

AW  It's alright. So your dad falls to the kitchen floor.

KK  He just laid on the counter.

AW  He laid on the counter.

KK  Mm uh.

AW  Then what did you do?

KK  I didn't know what to do so I dragged him into the bathroom and then put a white sheet over him.

AW  Okay.

KK  Oh, my god, my parents were good people, I'm just so fucked up in the head, I don't know why, (garbled).

AW  So what do you do from the time you put the sheet over your dad and your mom comes home?

KK  A few people called.

AW  Do you remember who called?

KK  Yeah, some of my friends and I just talked to them. I didn't say anything

about that and I didn't know what to do because...Oh my God, my mom was coming home and if she knew what I'd done she'd...Oh my god.

AW  So your mom comes home around six, is that right?

KK  Yes.

AW  Okay....Now I've never been to your house...And earlier you talked about a basement. Is that a garage that's underneath the house?

KK  Yeah.

AW  So your mom drives in her car, right?

KK  Yeah.

AW  And what is she driving?

KK  An explorer.

AW  Explorer?

KK  Yeah.

AW  And she parks, where are you at?

KK  I was waiting for her.

AW  Okay....Outside or inside?

KK  Inside.

AW  Okay...Did she pull into the garage?

KK  Yes.

AW  Okay.

KK  Oh my god.

AW  Do you have one of these automatic garage doors where she closes the door after she pulls in?

KK  Yeah.

AW  Was the door up or down?

KK  Down.

AW  Okay.

KK  I just want to die.

AW  I know.

KK  Oh god. (crying)

AW  So you told me that your mom gets out of the explorer and starts up the stairs from the garage or basement, is that right?

KK  Yes.

AW  Do you say anything to her?

KK  Yes, I told her I loved her.

AW  And then you shot---

KK  Yes. God damn it...these voices inside my head.

AW  Alright, hey, (garbled) Kip....Kip, settle down, settle down, it's alright, it's alright...Just settle down, okay, just settle down.

KK  I had no other choice.

AW  Okay...So how far were you from your mom when you shot her?

KK  I don't know.

AW  Okay....Earlier you told me you shot her twice---

KK  I think I shot her several times.

AW  You shot her several times?

KK  Cause I dragged her up into the basement after I shot her and she was still alive and I said that I loved her and I shot her...I shot her again so she wouldn't know that I killed her....I loved my mom.

AW  ..Okay....So you didn't want your mom to know that you were the one that shot her.

KK  Right.

AW  And you loved your mom---

KK  Yeah, I did.

AW  So what did you do the rest of the night? Did you talk to any more friends?

KK  No, I just...I didn't...I didn't know what to do...I held---

AW  Okay.

KK  I just held my glock to my head and I wanted to kill myself so bad but I

couldn't...I don't know why.

AW  Now you said there was only one gun in the home, where did the glock come from? Did you go somewhere and pick up the glock?

KK  No, it was in my dad's tennis stuff that he hadn't taken back to the Club.

AW  Okay...So it was at home, too?

KK  Yes.

AW  Okay....So did you get any sleep last night at all or do you stay awake all night?

KK  Stayed awake.

AW  Okay...Did you watch tv?

KK  I turned it on to keep me company but I didn't watch it.

AW  Okay...Alright...Now you shot your mom to save her the embarrassment and that sort of stuff, right?

KK  Yes.

AW  Okay....Was that the right thing or the wrong thing to do?

KK  I couldn't do anything else.

AW  Okay...Now this morning you had planned to go to school and you had taped some bullets to your chest.

KK  Yes.

AW  What were those bullets for?

KK  To kill myself if I ran out of ammunition.

AW  And you told me earlier you took two knives, the Ruger 10.22 that was sawed off, a Ruger .22 caliber pistol and the glock 19 which was a 9 millimeter. Is that correct?

KK  Yes.

AW  And you took those to school.

KK  Yes.

AW  Okay...You were wearing a big overcoat. Were you hiding the weapons?

KK  Yes.

AW  Okay....Why were you hiding them?

KK  I didn't know what else to do.

AW  You didn't know what else to do. Why did you go to school and start shooting people?

KK  I had to. I had no other choice. I couldn't do anything else.

AW  Had you been stopped by a police officer before you gotten to school would you have done that?

KK  I don't know.

AW  Why did you feel that you didn't have a choice with the kids at school?

KK  I don't know I can' head is (garbled) I had to, I just had to.

AW  Okay....Was there any kids that were in that group of people that you were seeing that you singled out as any one target?

KK  No.

AW  Do you know the names of any of those kids that you shot at?

KK  No.

AW  Okay....When we got here to the police department you had a knife that the officers had missed strapped to your leg, right?

KK  Right.

AW  And you had slipped your cuffs around to the front and when I opened the door you held that knife out and you charged me with that knife.

KK  Yes.

AW  Why did you do that?

KK  Cause I wanted you to shoot me. I just want to die.

AW  Okay....Was that the right thing or the wrong thing to do?

KK  It has to be the right thing because I need to die more than anything else.

AW  As you were growing up through elementary school and middle school, were you ever taken to a counselor?

KK  Yes.

AW  What for?

KK  Cause I got in trouble with the police.

AW  You got in trouble with the police?

KK  Yes.

AW  Is this about that book about making explosives or something?

KK  Well it was kind of It was just a lot of things mom took me to.

AW  Okay.

KK  Oh god.

AW  Let me ask you this, when you went to the counselor did they prescribe any sort of medication or anything for you?

KK  Prozac.

AW  Prozac....Are you taking prozac today?

KK  No.

AW  Okay...When's the last time you took prozac?

KK  In the fall.

AW  The fall of this year?

KK  Yeah.

AW  Did they diagnosis you as attention deficit or hyper-disorder or anything like that?

KK  I don't think so.

AW  You don't think so...Okay...Did your dad ever physically abuse you?

KK  No.

AW  Okay....Did anybody ever physically abuse you?

KK  No.

AW  Okay...Kip, let me ask you this, if you had it to do over again what would you do?

KK  I'd try so hard to kill myself I'd just kill myself...I can't do it I want it more than anything.

AW  Now whose car did you drive to school this morning?

KK  My mom's .

AW  And that was a green Ford.

KK  Yes.

AW  Escort or Explorer?

KK  Explorer.

AW  Explorer...And you parked that near the tennis court, is that correct?

KK  Yes.

AW  Okay....And what time did you get to school this morning, do you remember?

KK  A little bit before 8 o'clock.

AW  Were there other people around you when you got out of the explorer?

KK  Yes

AW  Did they say anything to you?

KK  No.

AW  Okay....You've got some marks on your wrists. What are these from? Like from the handcuffs?

KK  Yes.

AW  Okay...Does your wrist feel okay right now?

KK  Yes.

AW  Okay....Do you want some coffee or water?

KK  No.

AW  I asked you this before but after shooting your parents and being there all night, did you go out and did you hurt anybody else?

KK  No.

AW  Do you have pets in the home?

KK  Yes.

AW  Did you hurt the pets at all?

KK  No.

AW  And what kind of pets are in the home?

KK  A cat.

AW  Just a cat?

KK  Yeah.

AW  Alright...Well, you know, I'm going to give you a break, I'm going to stop right now. The time is at 10:14 A.M.

AW  Kip, I'm going to turn the tape recorder back on. The time is at 10:24 A.M.

I just have a couple more questions for you and you may or may not have the answer for me. I want you to do the best you can, okay. You're shaking your head yes, the tape recorder doesn't pick up, you know, body movements that sort of stuff so.

KK  Alright.

AW  Okay...That's fine...Can I get you to scoot up just a little closer to the tape recorder cause I know this is not easy for you to talk about, it's not easy for me to ask you these questions, you know, but I'm trying to figure our why, why this happened so I can kind of put it in perspective for everybody, okay.

Why did you move your dad's body into the bathroom?

KK  I felt like I had to do something.

AW  Did you move him so that mom wouldn't walk in and see him.

KK  I moved him because he was supposed to be on his back and I don't know.

AW  Why did you cover him with a sheet?

KK  It just felt like the right thing to do.

AW  Okay...You did it out of respect for him?

KK  Yes.

AW  When did you decide in your mind that you had to kill your mom, before you shot your dad?

KK  Afterwards.

AW  Afterwards.

KK  My dad kept saying how my embarrassed she was

going to be and how horrible I was and I couldn't let my mom feel like

that. I couldn't do anything else. There's no other way.

AW  Had I been standing in your garage or riding with your mom, would you have shot your mom?

KK  I don't know.

AW  There's probably at least two hours from the time you shot your dad until your mom got home.

KK  Yeah.

AW  What did you do to prepare yourself for you having to shoot your mom.

KK  I cried. I said I was so sorry. I had to though. I had to.

AW  You said you were waiting for her.

KK  Mm hu (yes).

AW  where were you waiting for her at?

KK  In the living room so I could see when the car came up.

AW  And when she pulled in the garage and the garage door came down and she got out of her car, where were you?

KK  I don't know I can't remember.

AW  Were you hiding somewhere in the garage so that she had to walk past you?

KK  No, I came down and helped her with her bags, bring them up.

AW  Where was the gun at that point?

KK  It was on my hip.

AW  On your hip?

KK  Yeah.

AW  And what kind of gun was that?

KK  It was a .22, oh god.

AW  Was it the 10.22 or was it the pistol?

KK  It was the pistol .

AW  It was the pistol. Who are these friends that called? Do you have names on those friends?

KK  My friends had nothing to do with it.

AW  Yeah, but, I know---

KK  I don't want them to get in trouble.

AW  They're not in trouble but you did talk to them and I think it's important that...Who were your friends that called?

KK  I talked to Tony.

AW  Tony go to school with you?

KK  Yeah.

AW  And what's Tony's last name?

KK  McCown

AW  McCown. Do you have a phone number for Tony?

KK  I don't know...It's on my watch.

AW  Okay....Does Tony live up near you on Chita Loop?

KK  No, he lives close to the school.

AW  Okay, but it's Tony McCowan, is he a freshman?

KK  Yes.

AW  When did Tony call? Do you remember?

KK  He called about 3:15.

AW  Did he kind of want to know what was up at school?

KK  Yeah.

AW  Did you guys talk about that?

KK  Yeah.

AW  Had you already shot your dad at that point?

KK  No.

AW  No, okay. So who else called or did you call someone?

KK  No, Tony called and Nick and they were like on the party line thing, we were all talking so nick didn't call me, I called him.

AW  So you called nick?

KK  Yeah, no he did, Tony did.

AW  Tony did?

KK  Yeah.

AW  What's nick's last name?

KK  Hiaasen.

AW  Hiaasen?

KK  Yeah.

AW  And is he in the ninth grade, too?

KK  Yeah.

AW  Did he go to Thurston?

KK  (no verbal response heard)

AW  So Tony called...So we're only talking about one call here?

KK  Yeah.

AW  Or was there two separate calls?

KK  There was one call.

AW  One call....Okay, so is there...Did anybody else call you?

KK  I don't think so.

AW  Okay...Did you call anybody?

KK  No.

AW  Okay...Did you call anybody after you shot your dad?

KK  No.

AW  When you were home alone last night did you call anybody?

KK  No.

AW  Did anybody call the house?

KK  No

AW  Did anybody call the house this morning?

KK  No.

AW  I think it goes without saying at least from my perspective but maybe...I want to hear it from your perspective, did you know it was wrong to shoot your dad, your mom, and the kids at school?

KK  I had no other choice. It was the only thing I could do.

AW  What were the other choices that you didn't have a choice of?

KK  I didn't know I couldn't think I couldn't do anything.

AW  If your dad hadn't talked to you the way that he did, would that have changed the outcome?

KK  I don't know.

AW  Was there anything that...

[Tape Stops]

AW  I said yesterday that gave you the idea that you had no other choice?

KK  It's just when I---

AW  Okay the tape stopped and I had to turn the tape over. The time now is at 10:34 A.M. I thought when you left here yesterday that your dad was pretty understanding and that there were other choices.

KK  (garbled) I couldn't...I was expelled from school (garbled) and I had no other choice.

[Tape picks back up]

AW  Okay...Had you talked to Mr. Doyle after you left here?

KK  No.

AW  Did Mr. Doyle talk to your dad?

KK  I think so.

AW  You think so. I think my question, Kip, is had your dad not said some pretty mean things to you like, you know, he's embarrassed, your mom's going to be embarrassed, all her friends are going to be embarrassed, had he not said those things would there have been a different outcome?

KK  I don't know. I don't know.

AW  Okay....How long from the time that he said those things was it between the time that he last said those things and the time that you shot him?

KK  I don't know.

AW  Was it seconds, was it minutes?

KK  I don't know.

AW  You don't know, okay. Can I get you anything?

KK  Can I get some water.

AW  You want some water, okay. What I'm going to do is turn the tape recorder off again. The time is at 10:36 A.M.

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