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Murderer faces life sentence in death of Kailee Clapp, 14

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Kailee Clapp was 14 at the time of her murder. Courtesy photo
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The Bartley, Nebraska, man charged with the killing of 14-year-old Kailee Clapp of McCook in January 2011 changed his not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity pleas to "no contest" this morning, and will be sentenced Nov. 20 on a single charge of first degree premeditated murder.

Stathis Sebastian Mobley Kirkpatrick, 20 years old, appeared in Red Willow County District Court this morning to officially accept a plea agreement that, in exchange for his plea of no contest, drops charges of using a knife to commit a felony and throwing away or abandoning human remains.

The remaining charge, the premeditated murder/felony murder of Kailee Clapp, is punishable by life imprisonment.

Stathis Kirkpatrick at an early court appearance. Connie Jo Discoe/McCook Daily Gazette
Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, whose office was prosecuting Kirkpatrick, said in a press release issued at 11:12 a.m., today, "This horrifying crime rocked the town of McCook. Under the guise of friendship, Mr. Kirkpatrick lured Kailee from her house, murdered her and burned her body. Today's plea ensures he will face justice and will never again be allowed to terrorize this community."

Kailee Clapp's mother, Nora, reported her daughter missing early Jan. 21, 2011; the last time she was seen at her home at 212 E. Fifth was about 10 p.m., Jan. 20. An investigation into her disappearance led McCook police to blood stains in the alley behind Kailee's home, and, after questioning Kirkpatrick, who was believed at that time to have information about Kailee's whereabouts, to more blood in the bed and on the tailgate of Kirkpatrick's pickup, in Kirkpatrick's bedroom at his uncle's house in Bartley, on Kirkpatrick's clothing and on a ring belonging to Clapp found in Kirkpatrick's jeans pocket.

The plea agreement indicates that officers found evidence of a series of electronic text messages between Kailee and Kirkpatrick starting at 3:04 a.m., Jan. 21. In one text, they agreed to meet at the top of the alley behind her home.

The agreement also indicates that during questioning, Kirkpatrick told officers that he had contact with Kailee early that morning, that her body could be found at the Bartley cemetery and that it was "too late" to help her.

Officers founds Kailee's burned body in the Bartley cemetery.

An autopsy by Dr. David Jaskierny shows burning and charring of 82 percent of Kailee's body, a cut or stab wound on her right cheek and an area suspicious of a cutting wound on her right chin and/or jaw line. Dr. Jaskieny's opinion is that Clapp's death was "homicide caused by the combination of a sharp force injury to the right side of the face and burning/charring of her body with evidence of smoke inhalation."

Kailee's clothing was examined at the Nebraska State Patrol Laboratory and tested positive for gasoline and an ignitable liquid such as charcoal lighter fluid.

During the late evening hours of Jan. 20, Kirkpatrick was seen holding a knife outside of the McCook Walmart store, and at approximately 9:06 a.m., on Jan. 21, he bought two bottles of charcoal lighter fluid at the Casey's convenience store in Cambridge, Nebraska.

According to the plea agreement, Kirkpatrick understands that, in order to become eligible for parole, his life sentence would have to be commuted to a sentence of a term of years by the Nebraska Board of Pardons. No one has advised or promised Kirkpatrick that his life sentence will ever be commuted to a sentence of a term of years, according to the agreement.

The plea agreement has been signed by Kirkpatrick and his attorneys Derek Mitchell and Jeffrey Pickens and by Red Willow County attorney Paul Wood and Corey M. O'Brien of the attorney general's office.

Kirkpatrick has been returned to Phelps County Jail in Heldrege, Nebraska, pending his sentencing.

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