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Free Kevin Bromwell #

For a little more than a year I have been working to help free Kevin Bromwell. Kevin has served 32 years for a crime I do not believe he committed. Below is the content of a letter I wrote to Missouri Governor Mike Parson. The letter explains my long history with the Bromwell family and why I believe Kevin should have his sentence commuted. At the bottom of this post I will include the Governor’s office contact information. Kevin’s request for clemency has gone unresponded for over five years. My repeated communications with the Governor’s office have been ignored. We will need a groundswell of support to give Kevin’s clemency request a fair hearing. I will also include Kevin’s address in case anyone cares to write him. He is bored shitless and could use more outside contact. If you could share this information widely in any format I would appreciate it. I know Kevin would as well.

December 2, 2019

Dear Governor Parson or his designee,

I am writing in support of a clemency request for a commutation of sentence for Mr. Kevin Bromwell #181047. Mr. Bromwell’s brother Reese is a constituent of mine who requested my assistance in advocating for his brother’s release. Kevin has served 32 years of 3 consecutive 30-year sentences for second degree homicide, burglary and arson. Irregularities in the case, the number of years already served and the pressing need of his family for his speedy release compel me to make this urgent request.

I have known Reese Bromwell for many years. I spent a 10-year career with Phoenix Programs, Columbia’s premier substance use disorder treatment center as a counselor, manager and ultimately executive director. Reese is a person in long term recovery from alcohol and because of my position shared details of his growing up with child abuse and neglect in an unstable family in inner-city St. Louis. Reese and most of his siblings had abused drugs and alcohol and had ongoing legal trouble. Reese got into recovery at Phoenix and had a desire to return and tell his story.

I further learned about Reese’s family and his character when Reese’s sister Tina was released from prison. Tina’s home plan brought her to live with Reese and he was a great support to Tina as she had adjustment issues from long term incarceration and trauma recovery. She found employment and worked for several years with stability until becoming disabled.

My relationship with the Bromwell’s deepened when another brother Donnie broke his neck in an accident could not care for himself and was trapped in a nursing home. I worked with the family to secure disabled housing so the three adult siblings could live together and support one another. I helped Donnie come to terms with becoming a quadriplegic and the family provided his home care. I came to admire this family who had come through so much adversity with a fierce desire to take care of each other and be successful.

After Donnie passed away of natural causes Reese told me about his brother Kevin and requested my assistance. I agreed to look into the situation and see if there was anything I could do. I spoke to Kevin by phone and made a trip to Licking Missouri to visit Kevin in the South Central Correctional Center.

I heard Kevin’s story and it had the ring of truth. I am a Certified Co-Occurring Disorders Professional through the Missouri Credentialing Board and have long experience with criminal justice involved individuals. I administered Phoenix Programs primary re-entry programming for many years and have worked with countless offenders and ex-offenders. Kevin struck me as sincere and his story plausible. I do not believe that Kevin poses a threat to society.

I have reviewed affidavits and records that are part of the clemency petition. I have been corresponding with Kevin and speaking with him regularly on the phone. I have come to know another sibling Pastor Larry Booth. Pastor Booth is also convinced of his brother’s innocence and has confirmed the facts of the matter as told to me by Kevin. A brief summary of the facts are as follows:

On May 16th, 1988 a terrible crime occurred. A woman was murdered, and her apartment set ablaze during a burglary. Later that night Kevin Bromwell was arrested on an unrelated charge. Kevin had been heavily drinking in the company of numerous witnesses. Three participants in the crime were arrested and they identified Kevin as the murderer, two of them testifying in his trial. All received minimal sentences and served less than five years.

Kevin has maintained his innocence for the 32 years he has served after being convicted and sentenced for 30 years to be served consecutively for Second-Degree Murder, First-Degree Burglary and First-Degree Arson. Kevin Bromwell (#181047) who is now 60 will not be eligible for parole for another 62 years.

Kevin’s attorney refused to call exculpatory witnesses and conceded his presence at the crime scene against Kevin’s expressed wishes. She did not challenge the serious issues with evidence tampering and police brutality. Kevin lost his appeal regarding ineffective assistance of trial counsel when his attorney at the time presented no evidence. Kevin has been filing habeas corpus petitions pro se which have all been dismissed without prejudice.

We are requesting a close examination of Kevin Bromwell’s clemency petition to the governor. He filed an Amended Application for Executive Clemency on 2/25/2018. He has a brother and a sister who are in poor health who requested assistance so that they might spend some time with their brother outside of prison. Kevin has made the best use of his time possible and has completed self-improvement classes and works hard on the prison garden.

There are six key facts that demonstrate there is not reasonable confidence in Kevin Bromwell’s conviction:

  1. A new witness proves Kevin Bromwell is innocent. The enclosed affidavit of Lewis Watkins, who as a boy witnessed the crime, swears that Kevin was not there. This affidavit is new evidence.
  2. Kevin’s clothing was taken by police back to the crime scene. When initially arrested, no blood of any consequence was noted on his clothing except a small amount on his right shoe from a fight earlier in the day. Subsequently the clothing was taken back to the crime scene by the police and then later when trial counsel examined the clothing it was covered in blood.
  3. Kevin had no stolen items on his person when arrested. As substantiated by police reports, there were no stolen items on Kevin’s person on the first police report when he was arrested. However, subsequent police reports mention stolen items that were on his person when arrested. The items mysteriously appear as part of the State’s case.
  4. Kevin was in no shape to commit the crime. Kevin had received an SSI check that day and had no need to commit burglary. As many witnesses will testify, Kevin was so intoxicated that night that he was staggering drunk and could barely walk much less commit a crime.
  5. The victim’s door was not kicked in as testified by witnesses against Kevin. Two of the individuals involved in the crime knew the victim and Kevin did not. The Fire Marshall’s report stated the door was in the unlocked position and not kicked in.
  6. Kevin had an alibi which trial counsel refused to use. Trial counsel’s strategy was to admit guilt and go for a conviction on a lesser charge then first-degree murder. Kevin wanted to maintain his innocence and go for a not guilty verdict at his trial. Trial counsel refused to do so.

Kevin has been filing appeals and habeas corpus petitions pro se. He has exhausted his appeals and his habeas corpus petitions have thus far been rejected without prejudice. There is no evidence they have been given serious consideration.

A commutation of sentence would be most appropriate because it would allow a quick unification of the family. Both Reese and Tina Bromwell have COPD. Reese has been off work for weeks and Tina is disabled. The siblings would serve as both recovery supports for Kevin and could use his assistance. I would pledge my own efforts to support Kevin Bromwell’s transition to the community. I would provide case management support to link him with needed services and assist him in finding full time employment.

With all of the time that has passed since this crime has been committed we may never know definitively what happened that night and who was involved. We do know that Kevin Bromwell has served 32 years for the crime while the other participants were given probation. By running the three-year sentences concurrently an acknowledgement of the trial irregularities can be acknowledged without a risk to public safety. Kevin has strong family and community supports. Please consider this modest request to help a family that has survived much hardship by pulling together and taking care of each other.

Sincerely,

Michael A. Trapp, MA, CCDP

Second Ward City Council Member, City of Columbia

Principal, AAAAChange, LLC (4-A-Change)

Here is a link to the Governor’s office for respectful requests for Kevin’s clemency petition to be granted, or at least considered thoughtfully with an examination of the evidence. https://governor.mo.gov/contact-us

His contact info is:

Office of Governor Michael L. Parson

P.O. Box 720
Jefferson City, MO 65102

Phone: (573) 751-3222
Fax: (573) 751-1495

To write Kevin:

Kevin Bromwell #181047

3D-266

South Central Correctional Center

255 West Highway 32

Licking, MO 65542

 

 

Categories: politics, Prison
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