Suspect in '90s killings sentenced in Atlantic Beach kidnapping
Man accused in 2 high-profile killings gets life in prison in unrelated case
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The prime suspect in two high-profile killings was sentenced Thursday to life in prison for another crime he committed more than 20 years ago in Atlantic Beach.
Kenneth Bicking, 53, was convicted last month of the sexual battery and kidnapping of an Atlantic Beach woman in 1992. He's also a suspect in the 1996 killing of a Dallas Cowboys punter, and the killing of a South Florida drug kingpin, according to police.
Bicking received two life sentences Thursday for the kidnapping and sexual assault in which the victim, Gwen Berlin, was tied up, had duct tape put over her eyes and mouth and was sexually assaulted.
Berlin said she's not afraid to speak out against the man who raped her in 1992.
"He needs to pay for what he did," she said. "He needs to pay for the trauma I went through."
Police said Bicking broke into Berlin's home, held her against her will and sexually assaulted her. During a follow-up investigation in 2011, DNA swabs from the original crime were resubmitted for testing, eventually leading to Bicking being convicted of what the judge calls a heinous crime.
"Seeing him walk off in chains is a good feeling," Berlin said. "I feel like he's in chains now because I've had so much of that shadowing my life."
"You realize there are many other potential victims out there who were vindicated today with the two life sentences," Assistant State Attorney Lee Smith said.
Smith said the tenacity of a retired Atlantic Beach detective helped bring this case to a close 22 years later, but Bicking is also suspected of committing other high-profile killings, which is why Hallandale Beach Police Detective Sgt. Ron Beukers traveled to Jacksonville Thursday.
"In the case that I'm working and everyone that I've ever talked to that knows him or come in contact with him, whether witnesses or family friend, everyone was in fear of Ken Bicking," Beukers said.
He said Bicking is suspected of killing former Dallas Cowboys punter Colin Ridgeway in 1993, as well as killing a South Florida cocaine kingpin.
"Mr. Bicking is a monster," Beukers said.
He's a career criminal that one of his victims isn't afraid of anymore.
"I'm not afraid to speak out against someone who violated me and did this to me, and I hope I can help someone else in that way," Berlin said.
Bicking was indicted in Ridgeway's killing, but his confession to his wife was thrown out of court on a technicality. Detectives are still working the case in South Florida.
Bicking's two life sentences for the sexual battery and kidnapping of Berlin will run consecutively.
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