A Baton Rouge man with a history of choking and strangling women was found guilty Friday in the 2011 strangulation of a Baton Rouge prostitute whose mostly nude body was dumped behind a motel near Airline Highway and Interstate 12.
It marked the second time that Kevin Broadway, 42, has been convicted of killing a prostitute.
In Friday’s unanimous verdict, an East Baton Rouge Parish jury convicted Broadway of second-degree murder in the slaying of Kristin Lynn Granier, 30, on Sept. 22, 2011. The panel of six women and six men deliberated for a little more than an hour.
Broadway faces a mandatory term of life in prison. State District Judge Mike Erwin will sentence him Sept. 8.
Previously, Broadway was sentenced to 12 years in prison in 1999 after pleading guilty to manslaughter in the December 1997 strangulation of Tammy Smith, 33, of Albany, in Livingston Parish. The prostitute’s body was left in an abandoned house.
Detectives investigating Smith’s death also learned that Broadway had broken into another woman’s home in October 1997 and attacked her. He choked the woman until she passed out and then fled the home. The woman did not die. Charges from that incident were dropped following Broadway’s manslaughter plea.
East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said Friday he would characterize Broadway as a serial strangler and a cold-blooded killer.
Granier’s body was discovered next to a trash bin in the parking lot of the Motel 6 on Gwenadele Avenue. A shoelace, still connected to a white tennis shoe, was tied tightly around her neck.
Broadway’s DNA was found inside and on Granier’s body, and on the shoelace.
Broadway admitted to police detectives that he had sex with Granier the night she died but denied killing her.
“She was discarded as if she was thrown amidst the trash,” Moore said.
Her high-risk lifestyle, which included drug use and prostitution, did not make her any less of a victim, he said.
“We take all of our victims seriously. It’s a person, not a number,” Moore added.
Prosecutor David deBlieux reminded the jury in his closing argument Friday that Broadway admitted to police detectives that he had sex with Granier the night she died and that he had driven his car through the Motel 6 parking lot that night.
The prosecutor also noted that Broadway’s DNA was found on the shoelace tied so tightly around Granier’s neck that it left a gouge.
“This was not a joke. This was not playtime. This was designed to kill,” deBlieux said as he showed the jury an autopsy photo of Granier’s body with the shoestring wrapped around her neck.
The prosecutor also replayed Motel 6 surveillance video that showed a Kia Rio similar to the one Broadway drove circling the parking lot twice with its headlights off, turning them on briefly to illuminate the trash bin where Granier’s body ultimately was found and then leaving the parking lot — again with its lights off.
Broadway’s attorney, James Rothkamm, urged the jury not to convict solely because of Broadway’s prior manslaughter conviction.
“We don’t want to rush to blame the wrong person,” he said. “That (1997 conviction) does not convict anybody. That does not make him guilty in 2015.”
What the earlier conviction does, deBlieux countered, is show that Broadway has a pattern of strangling women and denying responsibility.
“His method of operation is to strangle his victims and then to lie about it,” the prosecutor said, noting that strangulations are rare and adding that it takes a “different kind of person” to strangle someone.
“This is not Kevin Broadway’s first time. This is not the first woman he has killed,” deBlieux said.
Granier and Smith both led high-risk lifestyles that included drug use and prostitution, he said.
Rothkamm also argued that Granier was Broadway’s “regular hookup,” and he asked why Broadway would want to hurt her.
DeBlieux said it was not his duty to answer that question, though he suggested Broadway may have been angry because Granier was on her menstrual cycle the night he had sex with her.