Jury hands down not guilty verdict in 1999 murder case

Published: Aug. 20, 2021 at 2:14 PM CDT
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COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (WOWT) - A Pottawattamie County jury has found Matt Kennedy not guilty of the 1999 murder of Kim Ratliff.

The week-long trial has been plagued by time. Ratliff was 22 years old when she was found murdered and put into her car 22 years ago.

The 52-year-old broke down in tears after hearing he had been cleared of first-degree murder. Kennedy was accused of killing his step-sister Kimberly Ratliff.

She was killed in 1999, her throat had been slashed. The prosecution tried to link small samples of Kennedy’s DNA, which was found of Kimberly’s clothing and said he was the last known person to see her alive.

The case fell apart after the car her body was found in disappeared from the police tow lot several years ago.

“I told the jury from the beginning that they were going to be upset at the work that was done in this case in the 90s, they may even be furious. Frankly, I’m sort of furious. But this department today in 2021, especially Detective Ron Branigan, I mean overturned every stone did everything we could. This case wasn’t going to get any better. This was sort of our one shot to try to get some closure for this case,” said Matt Wilber, Pottawattamie County attorney.

Wilber says he feels sorry for the friends and family of Kimberly Ratliff after the verdict. Meanwhile, Matt Kennedy called his family after the verdict and was heard saying, “Mama, I’m coming home.”

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