County of Conviction: Riverside
Convicted of: Second Degree Murder
Sentence: 15 to life
Years Served: 3
Cost to Taxpayers: $135,000
In 2003, Oswaldo “Ozzy” Conde was brutally murdered in the house he shared with his girlfriend, Kim Long. Although she passed a polygraph examination administered by law enforcement displaying a high degree of honesty, and despite viable alternate suspects, Kim was convicted of Ozzy’s murder.
The day of the killing Kim bar hopped in Corona, California with Ozzy and their friend, Jeff Dills. They started at a bar called Chuck Wagon, moved on to Tom’s Farms, then the Sportsman, and ended in the evening at a bar called Maverick’s. By the time they made it to Maverick’s, it was clear Kim was drunk. The group decided to leave and went to Kim’s house around 11:00 p.m. Kim and Ozzy got into an argument and Kim decided to leave with Jeff.
Kim and Jeff went to Jeff’s home, returning to her home at approximately 2:00 in the morning. Kim was still drunk and stumbling when she tried to enter the house. Inside, she saw Ozzy lying motionless on the couch with his head bashed in. He had been hit 3 to 8 times in a precise area of his head with a long object. He appeared to have been dead for some time. Lividity – the pooling of blood in the extremities – was present on the back of his arms, as well as on the left side of his face. Lividity doesn’t tend to set in for over an hour. Rigidity – the stiffening of muscles after death – had also started in Ozzy’s arms which can be detected usually starting a ½ hour to two hours after death.
Frantic, Kim called 911 and police responded immediately. When officers arrived, they noticed blood on every wall of the living room in a 360 degree radius, yet no blood was found on Kim or her clothing. Neither were any of the drains inside or outside the house wet, indicating there was no cleanup. At trial, the prosecution argued Kim committed the murder and disposed of her bloody clothing before calling 911. The jury believed that theory. Given the state of the evidence, it was undisputed that the killer would have had Ozzy’s blood on them.
Kim became a suspect when Jeff told officers he dropped Kim off at home around 1:30 a.m., not 2:00 a.m., as Kim claimed. From that point on, officers focused on Kim as a suspect, even though there were other viable suspects including Ozzy’s ex-girlfriend against whom Ozzy had a restraining order at the time of his death. Jeff died shortly thereafter in a motorcycle accident and his story about dropping Kim off at 1:30 a.m. could not be questioned further. Based on the fact Kim and Ozzy argued that night, and because the jury believed Kim was home at 1:30 a.m., Kim was convicted.
Kim was tried twice. In the first trial nine jurors voted for acquittal. In the second trial she was convicted, although both the judge and the alternate jurors stated they would have acquitted her. The evidence was so thin against Kim the trial judge let her remain out on bail pending her appeal, which is very rare.
In our investigation we’ve discovered Kim didn’t change her clothing on the night of the murder based on a police report that specifically reported on what she was wearing and statements by witnesses. Furthermore, DNA testing on a cigarette butt found on the crime scene matches neither Kim nor Ozzy, and was likely left by the true killer. There is evidence that Jeff wasn’t truthful about the time he dropped Kim off based on other witness statements. Jeff believed he was a suspect in the murder, thus giving him a motive to lie. The combination of all of this evidence, the lividity and ridgitity, the polygraph, and the lack of evidence at trial proves Kim’s innocence. She has served 4 years in prison for a crime she did not commit. The Governor should grant her clemency and send her home to her family.
>>Read the next story, Dolores Macias.