Kenyel William Brown (July 3, 1979 - February 28, 2020) was an American criminal and prime suspect in a series of murders which occurred in three cities in Wayne County, Michigan between December 7, 2019 and February 22, 2020. On February 24th, his whereabouts were discovered, but during the arrest attempt, Kenyel shot himself in the head. He survived his injuries and was taken to a hospital, where he died four days later due to complications, without regaining consciousness. Although he was never charged with murder as a result of his death, the media coined the nickname The Metro Detroit Serial Killer for Brown, since most of the killings took place in the Detroit metropolitan area. The killings caused a stir both in the city and the entire state after it was found that Brown, a dangerous recidivist, was recruited by law enforcement agencies and worked as a police informant for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Because of this, between 2017 and 2019, despite committing several offenses and posing as a danger to society, he avoided criminal liability under guarantees from employers at the federal agency.
2 Criminal career
3 Murder series
Kenyel William Brown was born on July 3, 1979 into a large family with several brothers and sisters. He spent his childhood and youth in the city of River Rouge, where he attended the local River Rouge High School. In his school years, Brown, a physically-capable and gifted with sports, became a successful basketball player. Regardless of his potential, he began using narcotic substances in his teens and developed a drug addiction, which greatly influenced a drastic change in his personality. He began suffering from poverty, and began leading a criminal lifestyle from an early age. Between 1997 and 2019, Brown was arrested and imprisoned several times.
In August 1997, Kenyel Brown was arrested on charges of attacking a person with a weapon. He was convicted and given a year of imprisonment, which he served at the Wayne County Prison. He was released in 1998, but rearrested the following March for illegal carrying of weapons and resisting arrest. He plead guilty, was conditionally sentenced to 4 years imprisonment, but in October 1999 was arrested yet again for the illegal possession of a taser and attempting to sell it. After this arrest, he began to cooperate with investigators in a plea agreement, agreeing to plead guilty in exchange for testifying against other inmates, so that the charges against him would be dropped and he could be released. In September 2000, Kenyel was arrested for drug possession and attempting to sell them, but was released yet again after he provided some information on crimes committed in the county. In February 2001, Brown became the cause of an accident during which one person died and another was seriously injured. He tried to flee the crime scene, but was arrested soon after and charged with second-degree murder, resisting arrest, intentionally inflicting moderate injury resulting in death, driving without a license and illegal weapons possession. He was convicted and received 10 years imprisonment, but was paroled in 2010.
In June 2014, Kenyel was arrested in Detroit for illegal possession of weapons. During his detention, he called himself in his dead brother's name and stated that he was suffering from a mental disorder. In March 2015, Brown was recruited by agents of the Bureau for Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, working as an informant for five consecutive years. Based on the provisions of the Armed Career Criminal Act, he was sentenced to life imprisonment, but in June 2015, the Supreme Court recognized some of the law's provisions as unconstitutional, due to which Brown plead guilty and received 21 years imprisonment, with a trial period of two years. In February 2017, after serving 14 months in prison, he was released, but was rearrested for parole violation in May of that year and returned to prison. Thanks to intervention from the federal agency, however, he was released in July. Over the following years, Kenyel repeatedly violated parole conditions, but each time avoided criminal liability due to his position as an FBI informant. In July 2018, he was arrested for drunk driving in Lincoln Park, later testing positive during a drug test. In January 2019, he was once again arrested for drug intoxication, after which he was ordered to attend a narcologist regularly by the court. He missed four scheduled sessions, after which an arrest warrant was issued on February 22, 2019. Brown was arrested a month later and charged with violating his parole. In May, he was prescribed compulsory treatment for drug addiction, after which he transferred to a drug treatment clinic in Madison Heights, where he spent 21 days and was released on June 12th. Two weeks later, he was arrested in Hazel Park for drunk driving, but quickly released on October 29th, again as a result of intervention from federal agents.
The murders began on December 7, 2019, when Brown shot 31-year-old Lauren Hattington in River Rouge. On January 30, 2020, Brown visited some friends from his youth, 48-year-old Dorian Patterson and his brother Gerald, with whom he drank alcohol. After Gerald left the house and went to work, 52-year-old Kimberly Green and 44-year-old Clifton Smith came by the house. Late in the evening, a quarrel occurred between the pair and Brown, who proceeded to shoot Green and Patterson, as well as non-lethally wounding Smith, who managed to leave the crime scene and report the incident to the police. Based on his testimony and that of Gerald Patterson, Kenyel Brown was put on the wanted list.
On February 18th, Brown shot and killed 49-year-old Garcius Woodherd in Highland Park while trying to rob him. Two days later, 41-year-old Amira Thaxton was shot dead near a store in Detroit, with her money and valuables stolen after. Thaxton was familiar with Kenyel. On the day of the murder, he was recorded visiting her on video surveillance, as well as his car, and on this basis, became a suspect in her murder. Two days after, Brown shot dead 36-year-old Eugene Jennings while trying to steal a car. According to the investigators, he was his last known victim.
On February 24, 2020, Brown was seen visiting a bookstore in Oak Park. He was identified by two employees who called the police. Brown was unable to escape in time, as the police soon cordoned off several blocks and began a search operation to detain him. Kenyel attempted to sneak away by moving through houses, but was spotted by tenants, after which he was surrounded by law enforcement officers in a backyard. While trying to detain him, he attempted suicide by shooting himself in the head. He remained alive for another four days, but due to complications, he died four days later on February 28th.
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