Live Fast, Die Young

She was fifteen going on twenty-five, but three bullets made sure Jenny never saw sweet sixteen

When Shannon checked, he found that a Tim Kennedy had signed for the weapon, leaving an Arvada address that turned out to be the home of his parents.

Shannon called Kennedy's mother and asked about Tim. "I haven't seen him in a year," she said. She didn't have time to talk, she added, and hung up.

Shannon called again the next day. This time Kennedy's father answered. "He was up here last week," he told the detective. In fact, Tim had been living with his folks through mid-February.

On a hunch, Shannon checked with Colorado Springs pawnshops for Kennedy's name. One shop told him that a Tim Kennedy had pawned a Davis Industries .380-caliber, serial number A8607720, on March 11 at 1:25 p.m.--three hours before the bodies of Staskiewicz and Jenny were found. Kennedy had redeemed the gun two days later, on March 13, leaving the Arvada address.

Shannon gave the owner his business card. "If he comes back," he said, "give me a call."

On March 20, the pawnshop owner did just that. "The guy you were lookin' for was just here," he said. "He pawned a gold necklace."

This time, though, Kennedy had included a local telephone number on the pawn slip. The detectives tracked the number to a low-rent apartment.

It was an unseasonably warm day when Finley and Presley arrived at the apartment of Tim Kennedy. The door was open, and they could see a man sitting on the floor in a pile of trash with his back to the detectives.

Finley knocked. Without turning, the man answered, "Come on in, hitman."
Finley's jaw dropped even as he announced who they were. Kennedy, too, looked surprised when he turned around. "Hey, how'd you guys find me?" he asked.

Kennedy appeared to be in his thirties, about six feet and thin, a typical meth user with pale, acne-ravaged skin, dark, stringy, collar-length hair and the jitters. He had a close-cropped beard and moustache and was wearing a green flat-topped cap.

Finley told him they were investigating the murders of Staskiewicz and Jenny. Kennedy nodded. They were good friends, he said. "I think it was the bikers who kidnapped and raped Jenny."

"Hey, then you won't mind comin' down to the office to talk," Finley replied.

Kennedy shrugged and agreed. On the way to the sheriff's office, he told the detectives he'd just smoked a joint. He seemed to be trying to appear relaxed.

When they arrived at headquarters, Finley told Kennedy he was not under arrest and was free to leave. However, they wanted to videotape the interview. Kennedy said he understood.

Kennedy did not seem overly concerned with catching his friend's killer. "I'm not really his brother," he said. "He just called me that sometimes."

"We have information that you were there that night," Finley told him. That was pure bullshit; they had no information placing Kennedy at the murder scene.

But Kennedy bit. "Uh, yeah," he conceded. "I left about 10:30."
Not possible, Finley said; someone else had been at the trailer about that time, and he hadn't mentioned Tim being around. Kennedy gave it some thought, then remembered that he'd arrived about 10:30 and left between 12:30 and 1 a.m.

"We watched a movie," he said. When he left, Staskiewicz was sitting in his chair and Jenny's head was on his lap.

Finley asked why Kennedy had said, "Come on in, hitman." It was a joke, he replied. He'd thought they were his landlord, who'd been kidding him about having friends killed by a hitman.

"Did you kill them?" Finley asked.
Kennedy looked him in the eyes. "No, I sure didn't," he said.
Kennedy admitted he had loaned Staskiewicz two guns. "They were afraid of the bikers who raped Jenny, and I was just tryin' to help," he said. The guns were a black .25 caliber and a black AMT brand .380; he hadn't seen them when he visited that night.

Finley asked if the .380 he gave Staskiewicz was the same gun he had pawned the day of the murder. Kennedy shook his head. No, he said, the gun he pawned was a Davis brand .380. "If you want, you can check it out," he added. "It's at my apartment."

The detectives returned with Kennedy to his apartment. Garbage and food wrappers littered the living-room floor. Kennedy pointed to a black gun that lay in the middle of the trash. Finley picked it up; it was fully loaded. He noticed that the serial number had been ground off: a felony. In a corner of the room was a grinder.

The Davis certainly fit the "cheap gun" description of Staskiewicz's neighbors; it could be purchased for $90 or less. And it was as unreliable as it was cheap. An AMT, on the other hand, was a better weapon and cost about $240. That was the gun Kennedy said he had loaned Staskiewicz.

Finley went to get a search warrant while Presley remained with Kennedy. When he returned, the detectives began digging through the garbage. Finley found eighteen live rounds of .380 ammunition. Six were taken from the Davis. The rest were scattered on the floor of the bedroom and living room, hidden under the trash like cockroaches. The brands were carefully recorded: five rounds of Remington Peters, thirteen stamped Winchester.

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