McCook - An 18-year-old Red Willow County resident was officially charged Thursday with first-degree murder, as well as three other crimes related to the Jan. 21 death of a 14-year-old McCook girl.
County Attorney Paul Wood presented the four charges against Stathis Kirkpatrick on Thursday during an arraignment hearing in Red Willow County Court in McCook. The hearing resolved at least one question that has lingered around the death of McCook resident Kailee Clapp; burned human remains found in a Bartley cemetery were confirmed by authorities as being those of the missing teen.
Charges against Kirkpatrick were murder in the first degree, use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony, tampering with physical evidence and unlawful burial. If convicted of a Class I felony, Kirkpatrick could receive a death sentence.
Kirkpatrick's lawyer, Derek Mitchell, said Kirkpatrick is denying all charges.
Kailee was reported missing by her mother, Nora Clapp, on Jan. 21 at 7:11 a.m. McCook Police Detective Larry Kinne met Nora Clapp in her home at 10:40 a.m. that day. Nora Clapp said her daughter was last seen the previous night wearing pajamas and getting ready for bed. A door leading from Kailee Clapp's room into an alley was not closed completely.
Kinne's report states that Nora Clapp got a call from Kailee's father, Kelly Clapp, that afternoon. Kelly Clapp said he had spoken with Kirkpatrick, who first told Kelly Clapp he hadn't spoken to Kailee in two weeks; he later told Kelly Clapp he had spoken to her the night before.
Police contacted Kirkpatrick, who met Officer Don Smith at the police station on the afternoon of Jan. 21. Kirkpatrick told detectives he had spent the previous night at the home of his girlfriend, Ashlee Garcia. Kirkpatrick told police he received a phone call from Kailee Clapp after 10 p.m. and before midnight on Jan. 20. He said he didn't answer the call because he didn't recognize the number, but that he called the number back and spoke with Kailee for a minute. After he hung up, Kirkpatrick said Kailee called him back and said they should not talk to each other on the phone anymore, because her boyfriend would get mad.
Detective Kinne met again with Nora Clapp, who showed him a possible bloodstain in the alley behind her home. Nora Clapp told Kinne she had discovered the stain while taking the trash out. Samples of the stain were collected and hair evidence was discovered.
While Kinne was at Nora Clapp's residence, Kailee's boyfriend arrived. The boyfriend reported to Kinne that his mother had received a phone call from an unknown individual, who told her that Kailee Clapp was in Kansas with an ex-boyfriend.
Information retrieved from Kailee Clapp's phone did not show any calls on the night of Jan. 20. However, there were two incoming calls at 2:54 a.m. the next morning from a contact labeled "Steph." When officers called the number, Kirkpatrick answered the phone. He agreed to meet again with police.
Just before Kirkpatrick's arrival at the police station at 6 p.m., Nora Clapp called police to say that Kirkpatrick had driven down the alley behind her house. Kinne interviewed Kirkpatrick for a second time after his arrival.
Kirkpatrick repeated to police during the second interview that he had spent the night with his girlfriend, and told them again Kailee Clapp had called him twice. Kirkpatrick was asked by police about his activities in the morning, during the conversation he revealed he owned a truck. Police asked for, and were given, permission by Kirkpatrick to search his truck. A substance suspected to be blood was found in the back of his truck.
Not being able to explain the presence of what appeared to be blood in his truck, officers requested Kirkpatrick go back inside the police station. While re-examining Kirkpatrick, Detective Kinne noticed that tread on Kirkpatrick's shoes matched shoeprints found in the alley behind Kailee Clapp's house. The shoes were taken as evidence. Kirkpatrick was then arrested.
After the arrest, Kinne spoke with Kirkpatrick's grandmother and her husband in their car outside. They told Kinne that Kirkpatrick had spent part of the night at his uncle Arnold Solberg's home in Bartley. They had been told by Solberg that Kirkpatrick was at his house around 4:30 a.m.
After talking to Kirkpatrick's grandmother, Kinne met with Detective Hodgson who was interviewing Kirkpatrick's girlfriend Ashlee Garcia and her mother Peggy. Ashlee's mother was asked about Kirkpatrick spending the night in the home she shared with Ashlee; Peggy Garcia replied he had not spent the night. Ashlee Garcia at first told police Kirkpatrick was there, but later told them he was not.
Kinne then contacted Red Willow County Sheriff Deputy Joe Koetter. The two of them met with Kirkpatrick's uncle, Arnold Solberg, at his home. Solberg confirmed that Kirkpatrick had arrived at the house at 4 a.m. and gone to bed. Permission to search the room Kirkpatrick slept in was given by Solberg. A search located suspected bloodstains on a shirt, jeans, a belt and a comforter.
When confronted with the evidence, and the fact police knew he wasn't at his girlfriend's, Kirkpatrick asked to speak with his grandmother and his girlfriend. In the conversation with his girlfriend, he ended the relationship, telling her he would be in prison for a long time. The report states he told his girlfriend "she screwed him over by saying he was not at her house."
Kirkpatrick then gave police a statement about being in the alley behind Kailee Clapp's home. He told them he witnessed an attack on Kailee by an unknown man, who then kidnapped her. Kirkpatrick told officers he followed the man to Bartley cemetery, where Kirkpatrick said Kailee Clapp's body could be found. Detective Hodgson and Deputy Koetter discovered the remains in the cemetery.
A preliminary hearing will be held in the Red Willow County Courthouse on Feb. 11 at 9 a.m.