1. News

Once sentenced to life, Kevin Kyne released on Wednesday from Pinellas jail

Kevin Kyne is joined by his paternal grandmother, Phyllis Karakash, as he leaves the Pinellas County Jail on Wednesday.
Kevin Kyne is joined by his paternal grandmother, Phyllis Karakash, as he leaves the Pinellas County Jail on Wednesday.
Published Feb. 12, 2015

LARGO — After more than four years behind bars, Kevin Kyne walked out of the Pinellas County Jail on Wednesday with the only three things he owns: a plastic bag full of legal papers, a pair of black shoes and his freedom.

"I'm ecstatic, I'm still in shock," Kyne told a group of news reporters outside of the jail, one day after he was found not guilty of murdering his mother. "I mean, I'm sitting here talking (in front of) a bunch of cameras and seeing blue sky. I haven't seen that in a long, long time."

Kyne was accused of killing his mother in 2010 in their Seminole home, and convicted of the crime in 2012. He was sentenced to life in prison. But he won an appeal, which gave him a new trial, and this week he won that too.

He said the past few years have been "horrible."

"I lost my mother and my best friend," he said. "And been accused of this horrible crime, sent to prison for it. The man that actually committed this crime is out there, a free man to this day."

He was referring to his stepfather, William Kyne, who has never been charged with wrongdoing in connection to his wife's death.

Diane Kyne, 49, was strangled or smothered to death in 2010 in the bedroom of the family's Seminole home, and only two other people were home at the time: Kevin and William. Each blames the other for the murder.

Prosecutors said Kevin was the killer, citing evidence such as small amounts of his blood found on his mother's body, even though he said he had not entered the bedroom where she was killed. But his defense attorneys said William actually was the killer.

Now that Kevin is legally innocent, will prosecutors consider going after William Kyne? No, said Assistant State Attorney William Loughery, who prosecuted Kevin in both trials. "We're satisfied that we were prosecuting the right guy."

Bad feelings between the two men have not subsided. "I'm angry at him. I mean, he has taken my life and turned it upside down," Kevin said.

After seeing the jury declare him not guilty Tuesday night, William Kyne said, "He got off for killing my wife but he'll be back for something else. You can mark my words."

A post on William's Facebook page later said:

"Well, Kevin was found not guilty yesterday evening. I don't understand it, I can't believe it and I can't explain it. It is like a nightmare that keeps on going and you can't wake up. I will say this. God has a reason for it and all I can do is trust HIM! To all my family and friends thank you so much for all the prayers and support."

Now that Kevin has learned he will not spend the rest of his life in prison, he has more immediate concerns, like finding a job. Even the black slacks, gray shirt and tie that he wore outside of the jail on Wednesday were borrowed from the Pinellas-Pasco Public Defender's Office. "I have nothing to my name anymore," he said.

He did not have a specific type of job or schooling in mind. Both of his trials featured plenty of testimony about how, at 23, he spent his time at home without any real success holding down a job or getting an education past his GED. Now 27, Kevin said, "I have matured into a man." He also was pleased that by working out nearly every day, he went from 270 pounds to 180, giving him a markedly different appearance in the second trial.

His paternal grandmother has agreed to take him in temporarily, and said she is hoping to stay out of the limelight.

Looking back, Kevin said that when a jury first declared him guilty of second-degree murder in 2012, he was shocked. "I never would have thought that they would come back with a guilty verdict. I believe the jury had earplugs in."

But he said he owes a lot to assistant public defenders Allison Miller and Jessica Manuele, as well as others he has not met who handled his appeal.

"I've always heard from people that they don't like public defenders because they're not going to work for them. I beg to differ. … They were 100 percent on my side."

There was a brief legal battle Wednesday morning as attorneys differed on whether Kevin could or should be held longer, for previously violating probation on felony charges of battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest. But by the end of the day, his prison sentence was up.

Times staff writer Andrew Meacham contributed to this report. Contact Curtis Krueger at or (727) 893-8232.


  1. In this image from video, House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., holds redacted documents as he speaks during the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday. (Senate Television via AP) [AP]
    Prosecutors made an expansive case that Trump abused power like no other president in history.
  2. Health Officials in hazmat suits check body temperatures of passengers arriving from the city of Wuhan Wednesday, at the airport in Beijing, China. Nearly two decades after the disastrously-handled SARS epidemic, China’s more-open response to a new virus signals its growing confidence and a greater awareness of the pitfalls of censorship, even while the government is as authoritarian as ever. (AP Photo Emily Wang) [EMILY WANG  |  AP]
    The CDC said the risk to the U.S. public remains low but it’s likely more cases will be diagnosed in the coming days.
  3. In this Oct. 23, 2016, file photo, a New Orleans Saints helmet rests on the playing field before an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo. The Saints are going to court to keep the public from seeing hundreds of emails that allegedly show team executives doing public relations damage control for the area's Roman Catholic archdiocese to help it contain the fallout from a burgeoning sexual abuse crisis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File) [JEFF ROBERSON  |  AP]
    Saints attorneys disputed any suggestion that the team helped the church cover up crimes, calling such claims “outrageous.”
  4. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. [Times]
    The 75-year-old man lost control of his car while negotiating a curve in the road.
  5. A look at the construction on the Tierra Verde bridge project which is the bridge between Isla Del Sol and Tierra Verde islands on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020 in St. Petersburg. The project began in December 2018 and is scheduled to be completed in summer of 2021. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Dr. Delay takes a deep dive into the construction process for the $56.3 million State Road 679 and Bayway Bridge project .
  6. Demolition of the former Pine Oak Mobile Home Park, 340 40th Avenue North, St. Petersburg. [SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    One of the owners said the park had been losing money for a long time and residents knew a demolition was coming.
  7. Detectives from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office are investigating a deputy-involved shooting Thursday night in St. Petersburg. [KATHRYN VARN | Times]
    The incident occurred in the 2200 block of 36th Street South in St. Petersburg.
  8. Staff move bio-waste containers past the entrance of the Wuhan Medical Treatment Center, where some infected with a new virus are being treated, in Wuhan, China, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. The number of cases of a new coronavirus from Wuhan has risen over 400 in China Chinese health authorities said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Dake Kang) [DAKE KANG  |  AP]
    On the eve of the Lunar New Year, transportation was shut down in at least 13 cities home to more than 36 million people.
  9. Janessa Horsford, 5, says goodbye to her parents, Julytsa and Nigel Horsford, on her first day of kindergarten at Lake Magdalene Elementary School.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  10. A proposed bill in the Legislature would set a statewide referendum on whether to amend Florida's constitution to add a year to the period when home buyers can transfer their accumulated benefits under the Save Our Homes cap on property assessments to a new home. Pinellas County Property Appraiser Mike Twitty says going from two years to three would reduce the possibility that construction delays in a booming real estate market would prevent some buyers from meeting the deadline, costing them potentially thousands 
 of dollars in property tax savings. [SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN | Times (2019)]
    The bill, the idea of Pinellas County Property Appraiser Mike Twitty, would give buyers another year to transfer their tax savings under Florida’s Save Our Homes assessment cap to a home they’ve...