CLINTON—A Clinton man was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Thursday for the 2014 stabbing death of a mother trying to flee a domestic dispute.
Kieth William Pittman, 28, pleaded guilty to an amended charge of second-degree murder and a second charge of tampering with evidence. He was sentenced to 25 years on the second-degree murder charge and five years on the tampering with evidence charge.
The sentences must be served consecutively, meaning Pittman has an effective 30-year sentence, Anderson County Criminal Court Judge Don Elledge said during a plea agreement hearing in Clinton on Thursday.
The victim, Heather McKamey, 22, was a mother of three boys. She and Pittman had two of the boys together.
McKamey was stabbed outside her apartment at 301 Park Avenue in north Clinton after an argument between her and Pittman became physical at about 2:25 a.m. Saturday, April 19, 2014, according to police reports and an affidavit filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court in Clinton.
“While both the victim (McKamey) and suspect (Pittman) were in the driveway, the suspect stabbed the victim in the stomach with the knife he had taken from the kitchen,” according to the affidavit, filed by Clinton Police Department Detective Sergeant Russell Barker. “Witnesses advised the victim fled down Park Avenue to McAdoo Street yelling for help, and the suspect chased her.”
She knocked on a door at 881 McAdoo Street and pleaded for help. A person inside called 911, Barker said Thursday. After McKamey knocked on the door and asked for help, she stepped off the porch into the grass and collapsed, Barker said.
CPD Sergeant Mike Jones found McKamey at 881 McAdoo Street. She was lying face down with severe injuries. She was checked by the Clinton Fire Department and Anderson County EMS, and she was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Clinton Police Department had received 911 calls from various people. CPD Officer Josh Bunch found Pittman at about 2:35 a.m., roughly 10 minutes after the disturbance was reported on Park Avenue. He was several blocks away at North Charles G. Seivers Boulevard and Fowler Street.
Pittman had blood on his hands and clothes, Barker said. He was taken to the Clinton Police Department for questioning, and he agreed to speak without an attorney present after being given his Miranda warning, Barker said.
“The defendant (Pittman) stated he and the victim (McKamey) were fighting outside the residence, and he did indeed bring a knife from the kitchen but stated he did not know why he picked up the knife,” Barker wrote in the affidavit, filed April 22, 2014.
“Furthermore, the defendant stated during the interview, ‘I know I did it (the stabbing), but I don’t remember how,’” according to the affidavit. “He later advised he may have ‘blacked out.’”
Pittman told police he followed McKamey when she fled the scene, according to Barker.
“The defendant said he asked the victim what was going on, and she replied ‘you’re trying to kill me,’” the affidavit said. “He then said he looked and saw the blood on the knife and his person. The defendant reports he then ran the opposite direction of the victim and threw the knife away.”
During the plea agreement hearing Thursday, Barker said police found the knife a few days later, on April 21, but it was not where Pittman had said it would be.
It appeared to have been a case of domestic violence, Barker said. It reportedly started as a verbal argument before escalating into a physical altercation and stabbing.
After the argument started but before the stabbing, Pittman left the home, Barker said. But then he came back through the back door, grabbed a knife from the kitchen, and confronted McKamey outside, where she had followed a house guest, Barker said.
McKamey tried to flee a physical altercation near a car parked outside, but Pittman stabbed her, Barker said.
He said McKamey was stabbed twice, once in the stomach and once in the back.
Barker said Pittman had been violent in the apartment, tipping over a washing machine and refrigerator, breaking items, and punching a hole in the wall.
Pittman had initially been charged with first-degree murder. The charge was reduced to second-degree murder in the plea agreement.
As a standard offender, he was sentenced to 25 years on the second-degree murder charge. He must serve 100 percent of the sentence, Elledge said. He will receive credit for time served between April 19, 2014, and March 30, 2017, roughly three years.
But he will not receive credit for more than 15 percent of his sentence, meaning he has to serve at least 85 percent of the 25-year sentence on the second-degree murder charge.
As a standard offender, Pittman will be eligible for release after serving 30 percent of his five-year sentence on the tampering with evidence charge. Pittman pleaded guilty to that charge in a plea by information. In a plea by information, a defendant hasn’t been formally charged but accepts responsibility for what they’ve done.
Pittman also has to pay court costs of $3,622.50
Pittman waived his right to have a grand jury consider the tampering with evidence charge. A grand jury can determine whether to indict someone on a charge.
During Thursday’s hearing, he acknowledged that the facts that had been alleged are true, and he gave up his right to appeal.
McKamey’s father, Scott McKamey, gave a brief statement during the plea agreement hearing in Anderson County Criminal Court in Clinton on Thursday.
“No parent should have to go through what I’ve gone through,” Scott McKamey said. “No parent should have to bury their child.”
Pittman and Heather McKamey had two boys together.
“She has three beautiful boys,” Scott McKamey said after the hearing on Thursday. “They’re not going to know their mother anymore.”
They’ll never know how much their mom loved them, Scott McKamey said. And she’ll miss all of their birthdays.
Scott McKamey, who lives in Campbell County near Rocky Top, said his daughter used to call him and ask him to play her song, “Neon Moon” by country music duo Brooks and Dunn.
“That was her favorite song,” said McKamey, a musician who plays guitar, bass, and drums.
Sometimes she’d call in the middle of the night, even when he had to go to work early in the morning.
“I’d get up and play her song,” McKamey said. “She’d say, ‘Dad, play me another one.’”
Heather also loved Jason Aldean, McKamey said.
He said he sang “Go Rest High on That Mountain” by Vince Gill and “Will the Circle be Unbroken” at her funeral.
He said he shoveled every piece of dirt around his daughter’s casket, wanting to make sure it was well-packed and wouldn’t sink.
“That’s the last time I got to put her to bed,” Scott McKamey said. “I made sure it was perfect.”
Heather used to call him every holiday at midnight, Scott McKamey said.
“It was our tradition,” he said.
The grandchildren are scattered now, and Scott McKamey said he doesn’t get to see them as much as he did before.
The one thing he is happy about: He won’t have to see his daughter’s killer in court anymore for 30 years.
“I’m relieved about that,” Scott McKamey said. He praised the work done on the case by Barker and CPD Assistant Chief Vaughn Becker.
McKamey said he once walked 2.5 hours to attend a court hearing and has cursed out Pittman in court.
“Nothing hurts worse than burying your child, especially when it’s out of rage,” McKamey said.
“My daughter tried to walk away from the argument, and he (Pittman) chased her down,” McKamey said. “He chased her down and stabbed her.”
A second-degree murder charge against Pittman was “bound over,” or sent to, the grand jury from Anderson County General Sessions Court in Clinton on July 30, 2014. He was indicted on a first-degree murder charge by the Anderson County Grand Jury on January 6, 2015.
Pittman was represented by defense attorney Mart S. Cizek. Emily Faye Abbott was the prosecutor.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
See previous story here.
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