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Son charged in his mother's murder in Seminole

It's been five months since deputies found Diane Kyne strangled in her bedroom. There were only two people at her Seminole home with her at the time: husband Bill Kyne and son Kevin Kyne.

Both men called 911 that day. Each man accused the other of killing the 49-year-old. Her son was arrested in her death, but, in an unusual twist, he was released from jail as the investigation progressed. Authorities said they were still investigating which Kyne was responsible for the killing.

On Thursday, Kevin Kyne testified before a grand jury looking into Diane Kyne's death. Afterward, the grand jurors voted to indict him on a charge of first-degree murder.

Kevin Kyne, 23, was arrested Thursday afternoon as he waited for a ride outside the Pinellas County Criminal Justice Center, deputies said. He was booked into the county jail next door, where he was being held without bond.

"I'm just absolutely thrilled that they're finally taking a look at the facts of the case," said Bill Kyne, "and getting my wife's murderer off the streets."

Court records show that Diane Kyne was about to throw her son out of their Seminole home. The son was abusive toward his mother, according to Bill Kyne, and couldn't be reasoned with. The only way Diane Kyne could communicate with her own son was by using e-mail, he said. Detectives subpoenaed those e-mails.

"You'd better figure out a better way of life for yourself," she e-mailed him Aug. 12, three days before her death. "I'm not going to have you or anyone (for) that matter slamming doors and throwing your weight around under my roof ever again."

Kevin Kyne was first arrested on Aug. 15 in his mother's death but was released from jail on his own recognizance on Sept. 2. Authorities let him go while they took a closer look at both men in the house.

Chief Assistant State Attorney Bruce Bartlett said the case against Kevin Kyne strengthened when investigators recently obtained DNA evidence linking him to the victim. He declined to say what that evidence was.

"There's been a lot of finger-pointing in different directions," Bartlett said. "But there were certain items of evidence that pointed in the direction of (Kevin) Kyne."

Grand jury proceedings are secret, so whatever Kevin Kyne told them is not public record. They're also usually dominated by the state presenting its case. But someone who is the subject of a grand jury proceeding has the option of testifying before the panel.

"Evidently, his story's been falling apart, from what I understand," said Bill Kyne, who did not testify for the grand jury.

Bill Kyne's former wife died in the same home in 2000. Krista Kyne, 44, was found dead in the home's swimming pool, but foul play was not suspected. He then married Diane Pamela Morton in 2002.

Bill Kyne also helped raise her son. He said he wrestles with which penalty his stepson should face. First-degree murder has only two possible sentences: life in prison without parole or the death penalty.

"For the past 10 years, I raised him as my own son," he said. "But he took away my life partner. I've got those feelings as well."

Jamal Thalji can be reached at thalji@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8472.

Son charged in his mother's murder in Seminole 01/20/11 [Last modified: Friday, January 21, 2011 7:33am]
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