Courthouse Step Mavens:
Murder of TV Anchorwoman Diane Newton King
June 24, 2006
On February 9 1991 a news anchor in Battle Creek, Michigan, , Diane Newton King, was murdered in her home near Marshall, Michigan .
Her husband Brandford King was convicted of first-degree murder, and is serving a life sentence.
The case received national attention in 2004 when it was aired on Court TV's Forensic Files program. The case was also profiled on A&E's City Confidential in an episode titled "Bad News in Battle Creek."
From the moment Diane King, a popular 34-year-old television anchorwoman from Battle Creek, Michigan, was shot dead in the driveway in front of her two children, her husband, a criminal justice professor at Western Michigan University and a former policeman, was the primary suspect.
The Kings were an attractive contemporary two-career couple, with two children and a seemingly idyllic life. But as police probed, many flies were found in the ointment.
Brad was a compulsive womanizer, unable to hold a job for very long; Diane was a strong, in-charge type of person. It soon became apparent that Brad was the murderer; the problem was how to prove it. Spending close to a year, the police and prosecutors built a very strong circumstantial case, which ultimately led to Brad's imprisonment on first-degree murder.
January 7, 1993: A former police officer convicted of killing his wife, a television news anchor, in a sniper attack at their home two years ago was sentenced today to life in prison without possibility of parole.
The sentence was imposed on Bradford King by Judge Conrad Sindt of Calhoun County Circuit Court.
Mr. King, who is 45, was convicted last month.
Mr. King's wife, Diane Newton King, 34, was killed in February 1991, shot twice in the driveway of the couple's home in Marshall, just east of Battle Creek, as she was removing their two infant children from her car.
The authorities say the shots were fired from a hayloft on the property.
Ex-Policeman Gets Life Term For Killing Wife, a TV Anchor
Published: January 07, 1993
The New York Times
A former police officer convicted of killing his wife, a television news anchor, in a sniper attack at their home two years ago was sentenced today to life in prison without possibility of parole.
The sentence was imposed on Bradford King by Judge Conrad Sindt of Calhoun County Circuit Court. Mr. King, who is 45, was convicted last month. Mr. King's wife, Diane Newton King, 34, was killed in February 1991, shot twice in the driveway of the couple's home in Marshall, just east of Battle Creek, as she was removing their two infant children from her car. The authorities say the shots were fired from a hayloft on the property.
Ex-officer gets life for killing his wife
Thursday, January 7, 1993
Battle Creek, Mich.- A former police officer convicted of killing his TV news reporter wife in a sniper attack was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without possibility of parole.
Bradford King read a statement before sentencing, claiming he was innocent.
King, 45, a part-time criminal justice instructor, was convicted last month in the February 1991 death of his wife, Diane Newton King, 34.
Man is convicted of murdering his wife, a TV anchorwoman
Tuesday, December 15, 1992
The husband was angry because she wanted to quit her job at the TV station, prosecutors said.
Battle Creek, Mich. [AP] - An ex-policeman faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parol after his conviction in the fatal shooting of his wife.
A Calhoun County Circuit Court jury Monday convicted Bradford King of murder and possessing a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Reaction: King, 45, grabbed the table and turned pale as the verdict was read.
Sentencing was set for Jan. 6.
Prosecutors said King and his wife, Diane Newton King, were having marital problems and that he was angry because she wanted to quit her job anchoring the morning news at WUHQ-TV to stay home with their two children.
Ms. King, 34, was killed Feb. 9, 1991, at the couple's home as she got out of her car after a visit with her parents in suburban Detroit.
Prosecutor Jon Sahli said she was shot once through the heart heart by a sniper hiding in a hayloft on the property. As she lay dying, a second shot was fired at closer range.
Former cop killed wife, jury finds
Tuesday, December 15, 1992
Battle Creek, Mich. [AP] - A jury has convicted a former police officer and criminal justice instructor of shooting to death his TV news anchor-wife in the driveway of their home.
Bradford King, 45, was found guilty yesterday of first-degree murder and possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony.
Prosecutors said King and his wife, Diane Newton King, were having marital problems and that he was angry because she wanted to quit her job as morning news anchor at WUHQ-TV in Battle Creek to stay home with their two children.
King, who maintained that he was not guilty, faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole when he is sentenced Jan. 6.
Mrs. Newton King, 34, was killed Feb. 9, 1991, at the couples Marshall, Mich., home as she got out of her Jeep Wagoneer after a visit with her parents in Sterling Heights, Mich.
Prosecutor Jon Sahli said Mrs. Newton King was shot once through the heart by a sniper hiding in a hayloft on the property. As she lay dying, a second shot was fired from the ground at closer range to her pelvic area, Mr. Sahli said.
The Kings' two children, then ages 3 years and 3 months, were still strapped in their car seats.
Several family members and friends of Mrs. Newton King said she was unhappy in her marriage and was considering leaving her husband, a part-time instructor in criminal justice at Western Michigan University.
Prosecutor: Anchorwoman-wife slain because she wanted to quit her job
By Lisa Perlman
Associated Press Writer
Thursday, Dec 10, 1992
Battle Creek [AP] - The prosecution painted a picture of a man frightened of losing his wife's income. But the defense said Bradford King was just an easy target when police were looking for suspects in his wife's slaying.
King, 45, a former police officer, is charged with open murder in the Feb. 9, 1991, slaying of Diane Newton King, a television anchorwoman.
It will be up to a Calhoun County jury, scheduled to begin deliberations today, to decide whether King was responsible for his wife's death.
Prosecutor Jon Sahli said during closing arguments Wednesday that King killed his wife because she wanted to quit her job and stay home with couple's children.
Sahli disputed defense claims that the killer could be an obsessed fan who sent Ms. King a threatening note and made harassing telephone calls to her in the month before she was shot to death.
Ms. King, 34, was killed in the driveway of her Marshall farmhouse as she got out of her Jeep Wagoneer. The Kings' two children, then ages 3 months and 3 years, were still in their car seats.
An autopsy showed the first and fatal shot through her heart came from a hayloft in a barn on the property. The second shot was to her vaginal area, and the angle showed the bullet was fired from the ground at closer range as she lay dying, Sahli said.
"This was not the shot of a stranger. The was not the shot of an obsessed fan," Sahli said. "This was a revenge shot.
Sahli argued that King, a former Pontiac police officer, was enraged that his wife wanted to quit her job as morning news anchor for WUHQ-TV in Battle Creek. At the time of the slaying, King worked part time as a criminal justice instructor at Western Michigan University.
Defense attorney John Sims argued that it made no sense for King to kill the family's primary wage earner.
"The breadwinner wanted to quit her job," Sahli countered. "That's why he might want to kill the breadwinner."
Friends and family members close to the victim testified during the five-week trial that she was unhappy in her marriage and had considered leaving her husband.
King told police he was walking on the wooded property behind their home when his wife was killed. He said he heard gunshots but ignored them because the area is frequented by hunters.
Two days after the slaying a police dog found what is believed to be the murder weapon, a 022-caliber rifle, in a muddy creek on the property.
King told police he sold a similar gun in 1984. But several witnesses testified they saw a rifle that closely resembled the suspected murder weapon at the King's home a month before the slaying.
Sahli said Ms. King was terrified after receiving a letter Oct. 30 that read, "You should have gone to lunch with me." She had also been receiving harassing calls at work from a fan.
After receiving the note, Ms. King refused to get out of her car when she arrived home until her husband came outside to meet her, friends testified. Sahli said Ms. King got out of her car the night of the slaying because she saw her husband in the hayloft.
Several of King's female students at Western Michigan University testified during the trial that King had lied to them about being separated from his wife and having custody of his 3-year-old son. At least two of the women told police they were having an affair with King, but that testimony was not admitted at trial.
"You may not like Mr. King," Sims told the jury. "But you can't convict him because he's not a very nice person."
Sim's argued that the case against King was purely circumstantial. He accused police of botching the investigation by not looking further than King for suspects.
"This is a dog-and-pony-show," he said.
Sahli asked the jury to convict King of first-degree, premeditated murder. If convicted of that, he faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.
Year after anchorman's slaying, no more rumors about who done it
Tuesday, February 11, 1992
The Associated Press
Marshall, Mich.- A year after television news anchorwoman Diane Newton King was shot dead within a few feet of her two young children, the who-done-it rumors have suddenly stopped.
Her husband, a former police officer and criminologist, was arrested Jan. 31, in Colorado.
"All along really, I think everyone suspected him," said Campbell Stephenson, who keeps his ear to the grapevine as barkeeper at Winston's Pub off Michigan Avenue, a tree-lined thoroughfare of brick storefronts.
Marshall, a southern Michigan town of 7,200 residents about 110 miles west of Detroit, is known more for its antique shops and antique-car shows than for crime.
Mrs. King, 34, a morning news anchor for WUHQ-TV in nearby Battle Creek, was shot twice Feb. 9, 1991, as she stepped from her Jeep Wagoneer in the gravel driveway of the King's rented farmhouse just outside town.
Their then 3-month-old daughter, Kateri, and 3-year-old son, Marler, were found unharmed, still strapped into their car seats.
Bradford king, 45, told police he was walking in the woods behind the house when he heard gunshots but thought nothing of it since the area is frequented by hunters. He said he later came across his wife's body.
Authorities have declined to comment about why they took so long to arrest King, who said he moved to Denver with his children last June to avoid repeated police questioning. An affidavit said Michigan authorities had evidence implicating him two days after the killing.
The warrant charged him with murder and using a firearm in commission of a felony. King, who says he's innocent, last week waived extradition to Michigan, where he faces up to life imprisonment if convicted. He was to be flown to Michigan on Monday.
An arraignment was set for Tuesday in Marshall. In Denver on Friday, a juvenile court judge divided temporary custody of the children between their paternal and maternal grandparents.
Lab tests showed the bullets that killed Mrs. King were fired from a .22-caliber rifle recovered from a creek behind the house. Two of King's relatives said they saw a similar weapon in his possession.
Although King told police he owned only a shotgun, investigators said they found .22-caliber rifle shells and a cleaning kit in a gun cabinet in the house. In addition, the affidavit says, Michigan authorities found boot prints matching King's boots near where the rifle was found.
Cherie Riser was finishing her overnight shift at the National House Inn, a bed-and-breakfast, when she head of the killing. She telephoned her 9-year-old son, who watched Mrs. King every morning around 8:25 a.m. before school.
"I guess it was like she was one of us. ...I ran to the phone to call Brett at home to tell him before he saw it on TV. That would have been awful."
About 350 people attended the funeral, and already rumors were aplenty.
Some speculated on alleged affairs involving both Kings, others on problems with the investigation. For a while, the focus shifted to an obsessed fan who in 1990 had harassed Mrs. King.
Most of the speculation focused on her husband of four years.
Before taking the job in Michigan three years ago, she worked as a news anchor for KJCT-TV in Grand Junction, Colo., and as a research assistant for a Denver public television station.
Man being held in wife's murder
Shooting: The TV anchorwoman was killed last February as she stepped from her car at home
Saturday, February 01, 1992
Marshall, Mich. - Nearly a year after a television news anchorwoman was shot to death outside her home, authorities in Denver arrested her husband as the prime suspect Friday.
Bradford King was held in Denver pending arraignment and an extradition hearing, said Robin Ivey, administrative assistant to Calhoun County, Mich., Sheriff Jon Olson.
Diane Newton King, 34 was shot twice Feb. 9, 1991, as she stepped from her car at her rural home. Her husband reported finding her body. The couple's 3-month-old daughter and 3-year-old son were found still strapped into their car seats. King and the children moved to Denver after the killing.
Ivey declined to comment on why the arrest wasn't made until a year later. She referred the question to Calhoun County Prosecutor John Sahil. A woman who answered the telephone at Sahil's office said Sahil could not be reached for comment.
King told police he had been walking in the woods behind their home when he found his wife's body. He told authorities he heard shots while on his walk but thought nothing of it since the area is frequented by hunters.
An affidavit filed in Denver said Michigan authorities had evidence implicating Bradford King within two days of the shooting.
Lab tests showed the bullets that killed Diane King were fired from a .22-caliber rifle recovered from a creek near the King residence.
Two relatives of Bradford King said they saw a similar weapon in his possession. King's brother said their father bought King a .22-caliber rifle.
Although Bradford King told police he owned only a shotgun, police found .22-caliber rifle shells and a cleaning kit in a gun cabinet in their home.
In addition, the affidavit says, Michigan authorities found boot prints near where the rifle was found that matched boots Bradford King was wearing at the time of the killing.
Before the arrest, it had been widely speculated that an obsessed fan who in 1990 had harassed Diane King a morning news anchor for Battle Creek's WUHQ-TV, was responsible for the killing.
Diane King's mother, Freida Newton, said her daughter had feared for her life after receiving a threatening letter and several telephone calls from an anonymous admirer. Police investigated the threat, but turned up no suspects.
Diane King later bought a guard dog, installed security lights and routinely drove around the farmhouse checking windows when she arrived home from work. She often honked for her husband to escort her to the front door, Newton said.
After King's arrest, Diane King's mother and stepfather left for Denver to get the children.
Published on February 14, 1991.
SOURCE: ASSOCIATED PRESS
The Battle Creek, Mich., television station where slain anchorwoman Diane Newton King worked closed for business yesterday as friends and family paid their last respects and police narrowed their search for the killer of the former Grand Junction television reporter. About 100 people attended King's funeral at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Marshall. Police said yesterday no arrests had been made in her slaying, but a suspect had been identified. Calhoun County Sheriff... 93 words, Rocky Mountain News (CO)
MURDER WEAPON IS FOUND
Source: Compiled from Eagle news services
Published on February 13, 1991, Page 8A,
Wichita Eagle, The (KS)
MARSHALL, Mich. - The gun used to kill a television anchorwoman who was haunted by a male admirer was found and the investigation has narrowed to one suspect, a sheriff's spokeswoman said Tuesday. Diane Newton King of WUHQ-TV in Battle Creek was shot twice Saturday night in the driveway of her farmhouse. Calhoun County Sheriff's spokesman Robin Ivey would not say whether the suspect is the anonymous admirer who harassed Newton King last year.
POLICE HAVE SUSPECT, FIND RIFLE IN TV ANCHOR'S SLAYING
Source: Associated Press
Published on February 13, 1991, Page 2A
San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Police think they know who killed a television anchorwoman outside her home in front of her two young children, and say they have found the murder weapon. Diane Newton King "had a personal relationship" with the person who shot her Saturday night outside her rural home, Calhoun County Sheriff Jon Olson said. "He knew her and she knew him," Olson said Tuesday. "I think we have the individual. It now becomes a question of being able...
TV Anchor Is Slain in Michigan
Published: February 12, 1991
The New York Times
A television anchor who had received threatening calls and a letter from a rebuffed male admirer was shot to death in her driveway, but investigators today did not rule out other suspects.
The anchor, Diane Newton King of WUHQ in Battle Creek, was shot twice Saturday night as she turned to get her two children out of her car.
The police searched the farmhouse where Ms. Newton King, 34 years old, and her husband, Bradford King, a former police officer, lived with their 3-year-old son and 3-month-old daughter.
Investigators also searched weed-choked fields around the home and nearby woods where the woman's husband said he was walking when she was shot about 6 P.M. in Fredonia Township in southern Michigan.
Ms. Newton King and her children had just returned from Detroit when she was shot with a small-caliber gun as the youngsters remained strapped into their car seats. Her husband discovered the body in the driveway, Sheriff Jon Olson said at a news conference.
The authorities were not limiting their search for a suspect to the person who sent Ms. Newton King an anonymous threatening note months earlier, Mr. Olsen said.
Sheriff's deputies last year investigated threats against Ms. Newton King but made no arrests.
About two weeks ago, Ms. Newton King mentioned in a telephone conversation with Jan Hammer, general manager of Colorado TV station KJCT, that a man had been harassing her. Ms. Newton King had worked for KJCT before moving to WUHQ two years ago.
Mark Crawford, vice president at WUHQ, said the station informed the authorities about harassing phone calls and a letter at the time.
Ms. Newton King's husband told the police he was walking through the woods at the time of the shooting. Mr. Olson said Mr. King heard shots but thought nothing of it since the area was frequented by hunters.
Mr. King, who is now a criminal justice instructor at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, has not been formally questioned as a suspect, Mr. Olson said.
CLUES SOUGHT IN SLAYING OF TV ANCHORWOMAN
Daily News of Los Angeles (CA)
Published on February 12, 1991
Investigators and volunteers combed boggy woodlands and fields Monday searching for clues to the slaying of a television anchor, gunned down in front of her two small children. Diane Newton King was killed Saturday evening in the driveway of her rural Calhoun County home as she started to remove her children from their car seats. Newton King, 34, was hit twice with slugs from a small-caliber gun. Her son, 3, and daughter, 3 months, were uninjured. An unknown admirer reportedly harassed...
TV Anchor Is Shot Dead After Threatening Calls
Article from: The Washington Post
Article date: February 12, 1991
Diane Newton King, a television anchor haunted by threatening calls and a letter from a rebuffed and anonymous male admirer, was shot to death in her driveway, and investigators yesterday did not rule out other suspects.
Police said Newton King, 34, of WUHQ-TV in Battle Creek, was shot twice Saturday night as she turned to get her two young children from ...
Slain anchorwoman had received threats
Article from: Chicago Sun-Times
Article date: February 12, 1991
Author: Lisa Perlman
MARSHALL, Mich. - A television anchorwoman who was shot to death in her driveway had received threatening calls and a letter from a rebuffed male admirer, but investigators didn't rule out other suspects Monday.
Diane Newton King of WUHQ-TV in Battle Creek was shot twice Saturday night as she turned to get her two children out of her car.
Police searched the farmhouse where Newton King, 34, and her husband, former police officer Bradford King, lived with their son, 3, and daughter, 3 months.
Investigators also searched weed-choked fields around the home in Fredonia Township in southern Michigan.
Newton King, who had just returned from her native Detroit, was shot with a small-caliber ...
Michigan newscaster is killed in driveway
Article from: The Boston Globe
Article date: February 12, 1991
Author: Associated Press
MARSHALL, Mich. -- A television anchorwoman was shot to death in her driveway over the weekend, authorities said yesterday. She had received threatening calls and a letter from a rebuffed male admirer, but investigators did not rule out other suspects.
The woman, Diane Newton King of WUHQ-TV in Battle Creek, was shot twice Saturday night as she turned to get her two young children out of her car.
Newton King and her children had just returned from her native Detroit when she was shot with a small-caliber gun as the youngsters remained strapped into their car seats. Her husband, Bradford King, a former police officer, discovered the body in the driveway, Olson said.
Authorities were not ...