Man charged with murder after confessing to 2002 killing, police say

JSO: Kenny Maxwell arrested 17 years after Richard Morrison's death

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 41-year-old man was arrested and charged with murder in a 2002 cold case after he turned himself in last week, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office announced Tuesday. 

Kenny Maxwell, of Georgia, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Richard Morrison, police said.

According to the original incident report, Morrison, 57, was found dead Jan. 29, 2002, in his bed at a boarding house on North Market Street in downtown Jacksonville by the boarding house manager, who was looking for a missing cash box. The Sheriff's Office said foul play was suspected. Homicide detectives began investigating, and learned there had been a physical altercation and some of Morrison's property was missing.

Sheriff's Office Lt. Craig Waldrup said the medical examiner determined Morrison's cause of death was strangulation and it was ruled a homicide. Waldrup said no suspects were identified at that time and the case went cold. 

On Thursday, according to Waldrup, Maxwell went to the Police Memorial Building and wanted to fess up to the 2002 killing. 

Waldrup said Maxwell was interviewed by cold case detectives and gave a "full confession." Waldrup said Maxwell, who he described as an acquaintance of Morrison, told detectives he intended to rob Morrison, got into a physical fight with him and then strangled him. 

Maxwell was arrested Friday and booked into the Duval County jail, where he was ordered held without bond. Records show he has nine previous arrests on charges that include car burglary, grand theft and forgery. 

A man, who wished to remain anonymous, told News4Jax by phone Tuesday night that he spoke with  Maxwell days before his arrest.

The man did not want to disclose what his relationship is to Maxwell, but said Maxwell paid him a visit last week and claimed he needed to get his life straight. 

"He had told me that he had been living good for the last couple of years and that he had done a lot of things in his life that he’s not proud of," the man said.

The man said didn’t know what Maxwell was talking about until Tuesday when police announced Maxwell's arrest. The man said he hopes to visit Maxwell in jail.

“I’m certainly not proud of what he did, but I am proud of what he has done now," the man said. “I just want ... someone to tell him, 'You did the right thing and I admire you for doing it.' Because I don’t believe he would have ever been caught."

Waldrup noted a confession like this doesn't happen often. Detectives who have spoken with Morrison's family members said they're relieved to have closure 17 years later. 

It is still an open investigation and police said they are re-interviewing witnesses, as there's a possibility there could be more suspects.

About the Author: