Kinney Murder Update - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

05/07/04

Kinney Murder Update

Two people are behind bars tonight after brutally murdering a handicapped Beaufort man. Sheriff's deputies found 34-year-old Brett Kinney's body yesterday. Saturday, Kinney came home from a night out with friends, changed his clothes and told his mother he was heading to the Huddle House for breakfast. When he didn't return home, his family called police.

Most people wouldn't recognize Kinney without his dog, Sparkles, and his electric wheelchair, he used to get around. "Brett, Sparkles, and that electric wheelchair, they were quite a team," said Kinney's sister Marlene.

Brett was crippled on the left side of his body and suffered severe brain damage after he fell out of a tree when he was six years old. But he never gave up on life. In fact, he made it through three years of college hoping to become a youth minister.

"We have spent countless months in the hospital with him, at doctor's appointments, and millions of dollars just to keep him alive, trying to make his life more bearable," Marlene said. "But I cannot stand the thought of someone taking advantage of him in such a horrible way."

Kinney's body was found in a  wooded area near Still Shadow Drive in Burton on Thursday. Sheriff's deputies say 41-year-old John Dykeman and 21-year-old Samantha Morgan-Major are charged with murder, kidnapping, and armed robbery after they severely beat Kinney, stabbed him several times, forced him into the trunk of a vehicle and eventually murdered him.

All for $220. "The motive appears to be that they wanted the PIN number for his ATM card," said Lt. Jim Bukoffsky. "They had his ATM and they wanted money for drugs." 

"My brother did not deserve this," said Marlene. "And they couldn't have found a more defenseless person to do this to, and I'm just heartbroken and I can't think about what they have done to him."

Just a day after his disappearance, Samantha Morgan-Major actually brought Brett's cell phone and ATM card to his sister Marlene and even asked her if he was still missing.

Today a judge denied bond today for both of the suspects.

Reported by: Jaime Dailey, jdailey@wtoc.com

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