SEMINOLE — Things got so bad between Diane Kyne and her 23-year-old son, Kevin, in August that the mother communicated with her son by e-mail — even though they lived together.
But not for much longer. The mother told her son to be out of the house by Sept. 21.
"You'd better figure out a better way of life for yourself," she e-mailed him Aug. 12. "I'm not going to have you or anyone (for) that matter slamming doors and throwing your weight around under my roof ever again."
Diane Kyne was strangled to death three days later. But by whom?
More than four months later, authorities say they're still trying to figure that out. The problem, according to new court records, is that there were two other people in the house when she died — and both called 911 to accuse the other of killing her.
Her son, Kevin Kyne, called 911 and said that his stepfather killed his mother and also attacked him. Detectives didn't believe Kyne and arrested him on a first-degree murder charge. Prosecutors later said they didn't have enough evidence to indict him, and he was released without bail.
The prime witness against him is his stepfather, Bill Kyne, 53, who also called 911 from the same house and said he saw his stepson on top of his mother, his hands on her neck.
"You've got the father saying the son did it, you've got the son saying the father did it," said Pinellas-Pasco Chief Assistant State Attorney Bruce Bartlett. "One of the two killed her; it's kind of who you believe.
"I think it would be naive to say we're not looking at both of them."
Kevin Kyne stands by his accusation that it was the stepfather, Bartlett said, and Bill Kyne still says it was his stepson. Investigators need to work through both their stories, the prosecutor said.
That's why they subpoenaed the e-mail accounts of the mother, son and stepfather just before Christmas. Detectives believe they could help establish a motive behind her death: the "ultimatum Kevin Kyne was given to leave the home," according to the warrant.
Detectives say they need the e-mails to support the statements of the stepfather and others that mother and son were at odds.
When his wife tried to talk to her son about his behavior, Bill Kyne said, her son often responded with abuse and vulgarities.
"All the time, every single day," he said. "It was not the way a son should treat their mother for sure."
That's also why the 49-year-old mother had to resort to e-mailing her grown son, he said.
"The only way Diane could get her point across was by sending an e-mail," he said. "He didn't want to conform to anything other than what he wanted to do. He was 23 and he wanted to be considered a 16-year-old. He didn't want to do anything for himself."
The "third strike," according to the warrant, was when Kevin Kyne changed the passwords on his mother's desktop computer, locking her out. The mother had originally told her son to be out of the house by Sept. 30. Then she moved it to Sept. 21.
In an e-mail, the mother also asked her son to stop calling her a "b----" and stop insulting her friends.
Kevin Kyne, who was released from the Pinellas County Jail on his own recognizance Sept. 2, could not be reached for comment.
The case against him appears to be in legal limbo: While prosecutors have yet to file formal charges, the case remains active. The last court action was Oct. 14, records show, when Kevin Kyne waived his right to a speedy trial.
Bill Kyne married the former Diane Pamela Morton in 2002. Two years earlier, his previous wife, Krista Kyne, 44, had been found dead in the home's swimming pool. Foul play was not suspected.
Kevin took his stepfather's last name when he was 18.
In September, after the son was freed, Bill Kyne told the St. Petersburg Times that he thought detectives might suspect him in the murder. But he said this week that he no longer believes he is a target of the investigation. No motive has been offered for why Kevin Kyne has accused Bill Kyne. "They did that as part of their job, which I really expected," he said. "If they didn't take a look at me, they wouldn't be doing their job."
His attorney, Sean McQuaid, also said he doesn't believe that his client was ever a suspect. "I honestly don't believe that at any point they actually considered Bill a suspect," McQuaid said. "But there were two witnesses to what happened in the house, so it only makes sense that deputies would talk to both."
The only official comment from the authorities is that the investigation continues. "I think its fair to say we're looking at all evidence and in any direction in which it may lead," Bartlett said.