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Archive for Friday, October 28, 2005

Suspect pleads not guilty in teen’s killing

October 28, 2005

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— A former pool cleaner pleaded not guilty Thursday in the death of a Leawood woman whose father led a crusade to track down her killer after finding her body three years ago.

Benjamin Appleby, 30, of Bantam, Conn., faces charges of capital murder and attempted rape in the July 18, 2002, killing of Ali Kemp, who was 19.

Johnson County District Court Judge Steve Leben set a tentative July 10 trial date.

Kemp had just finished her freshman year at Kansas State University and was working at a neighborhood swimming pool in the Kansas City suburb of Leawood when she was killed. Her father, Roger Kemp, found her battered body in the pool's pump room. He helped set up a $50,000 reward fund, got billboards put up around the Kansas City area seeking information on his daughter's killer and bought advertisements in USA Today.

More than two years after Ali Kemp's slaying, Appleby was arrested last November in Connecticut, where he was living under an alias. He had a small pool-cleaning business in the Kansas City area at the time Kemp was killed.

Also Thursday, Angela Keck, who had been co-counsel for Appleby, was allowed to take over the defense team. Appleby had requested a new attorney, arguing he was not receiving adequate representation from Ron Evans, the chief of the Kansas Death Penalty Defense Unit.

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