Henry solved his own killing...


Henry Kyle. (Photo: PA Photos)

It was just another warm July morning in Los Angeles, California, when police arrived outside the lavish home of Henry Kyle, 60.

Born in rural Tennessee, Henry wasn’t an obvious future multi-millionaire, but the fire in his belly and his appetite for work led him to Texas, where he started a handful of small businesses.

Soon, Henry was rich beyond his wildest dreams. With millions of dollars in the bank, the world was Henry’s oyster. He dated beautiful woman, drove expensive cars and lived in huge houses.

In 1983, Henry moved to Los Angeles to be close to the movie-production company he ran, and he brought his son, Ricky, then 22, with him.

Ricky Kyle (left). (Photo: PA Photos)

Ricky Kyle (left). (Photo: PA Photos)

To the outside world, Henry’s life seemed idyllic. But on that fateful July day, the police were about to discover the truth.

Inside, on the floor of the plush dining room, lay Henry’s naked body. He’d been shot to death. But why?

It was his son Ricky who had the answer. The only witness to Henry’s death, he’d been shot in the elbow. He’d been caught in the crossfire as intruders shot and killed his father. He’d had a lucky escape.

But soon after Henry’s death, Ricky was arrested for his father’s killing. Police believed that the intruders Ricky spoke of simply didn’t exist, and that it was Ricky himself who’d pulled the trigger.

They believed the wound on his elbow was a result of Henry firing back at him as he fell to the floor. But what motive could Ricky possibly have?

A witness described Henry as a violent man with a quick temper. And then of course, there was the fortune that Ricky stood to inherit a chunk of. But could a son really be that heartless? Or was it a burglary gone wrong?

In March 1985, Ricky was in court charged with first-degree murder. Sensationally his story changed.

He said that while he and his father had been searching for intruders, his father suddenly turned on him and shot his gun. He said he’d fired back in self-defence.

However, the prosecution argued that Ricky had woken his father, pretending there were intruders. The two of them got their guns and went to investigate, but Ricky took his chance and fired at Henry. They said the wound on Ricky’s elbow was made by a retaliation shot from Henry’s gun.

‘To me, this is like the hand of God,’ the prosecution lawyer said. And, the prosecution said, by firing at his son in his last moments, Henry had effectively solved his own killing.

Eventually the case ended in a mistrial after jurors were deadlocked. But two years later, in 1987, Ricky Kyle took to the stand for a second trial.

The verdict

Ricky Kyle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to five years in prison.

Ricky Kyle in court. (Photo: PA Photos)

The verdict signalled that jurors believed that Ricky had acted in self-defence after Henry fired the first shot.

However, the judge branded Ricky a lazy, cruel, callous and unremorseful liar.


By Rachel Tompkins

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. The verdict
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