A Daughter’s Quest to Free Her Father’s Killer

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Katie Kitchen had ever felt immoderate sadness astir the destiny of the antheral convicted of murdering her father. On a summertime nighttime successful 1991, Robert Hans Kaim, a seventy-seven-year-old achromatic real-estate developer, had conscionable pulled into his store successful Houston’s upscale Tanglewood vicinity erstwhile an assailant robbed him astatine gunpoint, changeable him successful the chest, and past drove disconnected with his wallet. Nine days later, constabulary arrested a twenty-year-old Black antheral named Joseff Deon White successful transportation with the crime. White told investigators that he’d had an accomplice, a Jamaican person who went by the thoroughfare sanction Blocker, but the constabulary ne'er recovered oregon adjacent identified him. At White’s trial, Kitchen noticed his tiny stature, and the mothers of his children sitting connected his broadside of the courtroom, crying. The assemblage reached a blameworthy verdict successful forty-five minutes. On April 20, 1992, White was sentenced to beingness successful prison. “All I could deliberation astir was however senseless it was for a idiosyncratic to propulsion distant their beingness for a wallet,” Kitchen, who was forty astatine the time, wrote later, successful her journal.

The Tanglewood home, wherever Kitchen grew up, is simply a mid-century-modern operation made of ceramic and glass. I met Kitchen there, successful August, erstwhile she was visiting 1 of her 2 older sisters, Ellen Benninghoven, who moved backmost into the location a fewer years aft their mother’s death, successful 2011. As Kitchen unlatched a gangly information gate, which the household had installed successful the aftermath of the murder, she gestured toward the beforehand entrance. “That’s wherever the constabulary recovered him,” she said. When officers reached the scene, aft a neighbour heard a commotion and called 911, Kaim was inactive alive. According to the Houston Chronicle, helium had crawled to the entryway and was banging his caput against the doorway successful an effort to aftermath his wife. An émigré from Berlin who’d fought for the U.S. successful the Second World War, Kaim had an imposing physique and a “huge German voice,” Kitchen said. Before helium was rushed to the hospital, helium told the constabulary that during the robbery he’d refused to manus implicit his wallet. Kitchen, who was retired of municipality that nighttime and didn’t scope the location until the adjacent morning, sometimes imagines that her begetter “scared the hell” retired of White, possibly leaving him nary prime but to occurrence successful self-defense.

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