Kenneth McDuff: Wikis


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Kenneth McDuff
Background information
Birth name: Kenneth Allen McDuff
Also known as: The Broomstick Murderer
The Broomstick Killer
Born: March 21, 1946
Rosebud, Texas
Died: November 17, 1998 (aged 52)
Cause of death: Lethal injection
Conviction: Attempted Burglary
Sentence: Death
Number of victims: 14+
Span of killings: August 6, 1966 – March 1, 1992
Country: U.S.
State(s): Texas
Date apprehended: For the final time on May 4, 1992

Kenneth Allen McDuff (March 21, 1946 – November 17, 1998) was an American serial killer suspected of at least 14 murders. He had previously been on death row from 1968 to 1972.


Early life and background

Kenneth Allen McDuff was born at 201 Linden Street in the central Texas town of Rosebud (Falls County), one of four children born to John and Addie McDuff. His father worked as a farmer and mason.

McDuff's mother, Addie, was known around their small town as "The pistol packin' momma" due to her propensity toward violence and habit of carrying a firearm, she has been characterised as domineering by Christopher Berry-Dee who authored a short biography of Kenneth McDuff as part of his book "Talking with serial killers".

McDuff was known to fire at living creatures with a .22 rifle as a young boy and was known to get into fights with boys older than him, this lead to him acquiring a fearsome reputation in Rosebud and it was not long before he became known to the local Sheriff Larry Pamplin.

Earlier criminal activities

His criminal record began two years before his first murder conviction, in 1964 McDuff was convicted of 12 counts of burglary and attempted burglary in three different Texas counties, Bell, Milam and Falls. He was sentenced to twelve four year prison terms, to be served concurrently, however he was paroled in December 1965.

He was briefly returned to prison after violating his parole by becoming involved in a fight, but was once again released.

While he was not convicted of any murders at this time his accomplice in the 1966 triple murder, Roy Dale Green, said that McDuff bragged openly about his criminal record and claimed to have raped and killed two young women.

Broomstick murders

On Saturday 6 August 1966 McDuff and new friend Roy Dale Green, whom he had met around a month earlier through a mutual acquaintance by the name of Richard Boyd, spent the day pouring concrete for John McDuff, Kenneth's father.

At approximately 5 p.m, once they had completed their work for John McDuff, Kenneth and Roy decided to drive to Fort Worth in McDuff's new Dodge Coronet. They bought a six pack of beers from a 7-11 store and visited a mutual friend, Edith Turner, at around 7 pm before buying a hamburger.

Their soon to be victims had spent the evening at a drive in movie and at 10 pm were parked on a baseball field in Guadalupe County. The trio consisted of Robert Brand (aged 18), his girlfriend Edna Louise Sullivan (aged 16) and Brand's 16 year old cousin Mark Dunman.

Green in a statement he gave to the police when he turned himself in on 8 August stated that he and McDuff parked around 150 yards away from their victims' car. McDuff took his revolver with him, once they arrived at the vehicle he ordered the occupants into the trunk of their car.

With Green following in McDuff's car McDuff drove the victims' Ford along a highway and then onto a field, here he ordered Edna Sullivan out of the trunk of the Ford and instructed Green to put her into the trunk of his Dodge Coronet. At this point, according to Green's statement, McDuff said he would have to "knock 'em off", he proceeded to fire six shots into the trunk of the Ford in spite of Dunman and Brand's pleas not to.

McDuff then instructed Green to wipe the fingerprints off the Ford, they then drove to another location where first McDuff and then Green, allegedly under duress, raped Sullivan. After Sullivan had been raped several times McDuff asked Green for something to strangle her with, Green gave him his belt. However in the end McDuff opted to use a three foot long piece of broomstick from his car, he choked Sullivan, and then he and Green dumped her body in some bushes.

They purchased some Coca Colas from a Hillsboro gas station before driving to Green's house to spend the night. The following day McDuff buried his revolver beside Green's garage and their mutual acquaintance Richard Boyd allowed McDuff to wash his car at his house.

The next day Green confessed to Boyd's parents, who told Green's mother who convinced him to hand himself in, which he did.

McDuff received three death sentences and Green received a 25 year prison sentence. However McDuff's death sentences were commuted to a life sentence, at that time a life sentence in Texas meant serving a minimum of 10 years in prison before being paroled.

Ultimately Green served 13 years before being paroled. Whilst incarcerated McDuff was twice sent to the electric chair, but both times received last minute stays of execution.

Post-release crimes

As a result of overcrowding in Texas prisons,[1] McDuff was paroled on 11 October 1989 to Milam County Texas.

Allegedly Addie McDuff bribed the parole board into releasing Kenneth, however his release was also part of a wider series of events. As a result of serious overcrowding in Texas prisons Governor Bill Clements ordered the Texas parole board to release 750 low risk offenders every week, however pretty soon the 60,000 inmates who were 'low risk' had all been paroled but the system was still overcrowded.

The Texas parole board began releasing inmates hastily, McDuff was in fact one of 20 former death row inmates and 127 murderers to be paroled.

After being released, he got a job at a gas station making $4 an hour and took a class at Texas State Technical College in Waco.[2]

Within three days of his release he began killing again. He killed 31 year old Sarafia Parker, whose body was discovered on 14 October 1989, in Temple, a town around 48 miles from Waco. However he was soon returned to prison on a parole violation, for making death threats to a Black youth in Rosebud.

Addie McDuff paid $1,500 to two Huntsville attorneys, plus an additional $700 for expenses, to two Huntsville attorneys in return for them 'evaluating' Kenneth's prospect of release. On 18 December 1990 McDuff was again released from prison.

On 10 October 1991 McDuff picked up a prostitute and drug addict named Brenda Thompson in Waco. He tied her up, however his vehicle was stopped at Waco Police Department checkpoint, McDuff stopped approximately 50ft in before the checkpoint, this lead to one policeman walking toward McDuff's vehicle. On seeing the police officer Thompson repeatedly kicked at the windshield of McDuff's truck, cracking it several times. McDuff accelerated extremely fast and drove at the officers, according to a statement filed by the officers later three of them had to jump to avoid being hit.

The policemen gave chase but it was nighttime and McDuff eluded them by turning off his lights and travelling the wrong way down one way streets, ultimately he parked his truck in a wooded area near to US 84. He inflicted a torturous death upon Thompson, however her body was not discovered until 1998.

Five days later, on 15 October 1991, McDuff and a 17 year old prostitute named Regenia DeAnne Moore were witnessed having an argument at a Waco motel, shortly thereafter the pair drove in McDuff's pickup truck to a remote area beside Highway 6, near Waco. McDuff tied her arms and legs with stockings before killing her. She had been missing from home for 7 years by the time her body was discovered on Wednesday 29 September 1993.

He killed again on 29 December 1991, his victim was Colleen Reed, a Louisiana native. He and an accomplice, Alva Hank Worley, drove to a carwash where Reed was, McDuff kidnapped her in plain sight of eyewitnesses. He and Worley drove her away, Worley admitted in an April 1992 interview with Bell County Sheriff's Dept. that he had raped Reed but stated that he did not participate in her murder.

His next victim was Valencia Joshua, a prostitute and fellow student at Texas State Technical College in Waco. Crucially she (Valencia) was last seen alive knocking on McDuff's door, while a student McDuff had taken up drug dealing, selling crack cocaine, LSD, methamphetamine and marijuana to fellow students to supplement his student grant.

McDuff strangled Valencia Joshua on 24 February 1992. Her body was discovered on 15 March at a golf course near to their college.

McDuff's next victim was Melissa Northrup, a 22 year old store clerk at a Waco Quik-pak who was pregnant at the time of her death, 1 March. He had also taken $250 from the cash register, during the investigation into Northrup's disappearance (her body was found by a fisherman on 26 April 1992) a college friend of McDuff's told police officers that McDuff, who was already a suspect due to having been seen in the vicinity of the Quik-pak at the time of Northrup's disappearance, had attempted to enlist his help in robbing the store.

A major problem for investigators was that McDuff's post release victims were spread out across several Texas counties, this made a single co-ordinated investigation into him difficult. However the police had learned that McDuff was peddling drugs and had an illegal firearm, both federal offences. Consequently on 6 March 1992 a local State Attorney issued a warrant for McDuff's arrest.

In April 1992 the police made a major breakthrough, Bell County Sheriff's Department investigators had brought in Alva Hank Worley for questioning on the basis that he was a known acquaintance of McDuff. Worley admitted to his involvement in the kidnapping of Colleen Reed, he was held in a Travis County jail which the police continued their search for McDuff.

McDuff had moved to Kansas City, where he was working at a refuse collection company and living under the assumed name of Richard Fowler. On 1 May 1992 a co-worker of his, named Gary Smithee, watched America's Most Wanted. Smithee noticed how similar McDuff, who was featured on the program, was to his new co-worker Richard Fowler. After discussing the matter with another co-worker Smithee telephoned the Kansas City Police.

The Kansas City Police searched Fowler's name and found he had been arrested, and fingerprinted, for soliciting prostitutes. Comparing the fingerprints taken from Fowler to those from McDuff it was found they were the same.

On 4 May 1992 a surveillance team of six officers arrested McDuff as he drove to a landfill south of Kansas City.

Trial and execution

McDuff was indicted on one count of capital murder, for the death of Melissa Northrup, in McLennan County Texas on 26 June 1992. He was found guilty. In Texas, juries determine whether or not an individual convicted of capital murder receives life imprisonment or the death penalty.

On 18 February 1993 the jury, in a special punishment hearing, opted to sentence him to death. His case was automatically taken to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals who affirmed the sentence on 28 April 1997.

McDuff filed a writ of certiorari to the US Supreme Court (a certiorari requests that a higher court hear the case), but this was rejected on 12 January 1998 and a state writ of habeas corpus was also rejected on 15 April 1998.

On 29 April 1998 the original court of sentencing in McLennan County set the execution date as 21 October 1998. However on 8 July McDuff filed another writ of habeas corpus, this time it was a federal writ of habeas corpus, this had the effect of delaying his execution as his case was considered again.

Finally on 15 October 1998 the Western District Court denied habeas corpus relief and re-scheduled the execution date for 17 November 1998. He filed a Notice of Appeal on 23 October but on 26 October his request for a certificate of appealability was denied by the Western District Court.

The US Supreme Court denied his last appeal for a stay of execution on 16 November 1998.

Effect on the Texas penal system

After McDuff's second arrest for murder in 1992, Texas launched a massive overhaul of its prison system to prevent violent criminals from winning early parole. The tightened parole rules, extensive prison building projects and improved monitoring of violent parolees are collectively known in Texas as the McDuff Laws..

See also



  • Bad Boy from Rosebud by Gary M. Lavergne
  • No Remorse by Bob Stewart
  • Talking With Serial Killers (2003), C. Berry-Dee, John Blake Publishing, London

External links



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