French (January 15,
1971) is a mass murderer who, on August 6, 1993, killed four people
in a Fayetteville, North Carolina Luigi's restaurant and wounded
Before the shooting, French had been drinking whiskey
and watching The Unforgiven. Since 1998, French has been
imprisoned at the Marion Correctional Institute. French was a
Sergeant in the XVIII Airborne Corps and was featured in the
documentary, Licensed to Kill (1997).
Kenneth French, Jr.
Wesley Cover, 26
James Kidd, 46
Ethel Parrous, 65
Pete Parrous, 73
"I don't believe there's anywhere in our Constitution
that gives anybody the right to be accepted by anybody else. When
the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964, people automatically
assumed that they had a right to many different things. Women,
blacks, now carrying into gays. They feel that they have a right to
be accepted? Who--who do they need to accept them?"
you're introducing a minority group that's frowned upon and looked
upon as being weak, and your commander's saying it's fine for him to
be here, guys are saying, 'Guess the military isn't really as tough
and bad as we thought it was.' Everybody's wanting acceptance. It's
a one-world system -- global unity. Well, at what cost? Our military
going down the drain?"
not gonna apologize for the views that I hold towards gays or
homosexuals but...I don't think that I went in with the intention of
just singling out any certain group of people, be it black, white,
male, female, gay, or straight. I was just angry at the world I
guess at the time, I don't know. I was just taking out aggression
and hatred on whoever was there."
Witnesses reported that, during the shootings, he
I'll show you,
Clinton, about letting gays into the army."
On the night of August 6, 1993, a man
stepped out of a truck near Luigi's Restaurant and the
Kroger supermarket in Cumberland County, North Carolina.
The man carried a pump shotgun and was wearing shorts, a
T-shirt and a hunting vest. A witness stated that there
appeared to be a bottle of beer in his hunting vest. The
man suddenly began firing in the direction of the Kroger
store. He then walked to the back of the restaurant and
entered through the kitchen area.
He then went to the restaurant proper,
hollering "freeze." Patrons began running out the door
and hiding under the tables. The man walked through the
restaurant and killed four people and wounded numerous
others, often firing right in people's faces after they
asked for mercy.
A Fayetteville police officer who was
working as an off-duty guard for Kroger's, heard the
shots and, after calling for backup, entered the
restaurant and shot the man holding the gun. When
another officer approached, the man with the gun raised
it and the officer fired twice. Finally, an officer
removed the shotgun and placed the man under arrest. He
was taken to a hospital for surgery.
There was little doubt about who had
committed the crime. The man who was arrested at the
scene of the crime was Kenneth Junior French, a 22-year-old
mechanic in the Army, who had obtained the rank of
Sergeant E-5. He had recently moved into a trailer
rented by his fiancee, Elaine Sears, and her two
children. At the time of the crime, Ms. Sears and her
children were out of state.
The defendant was charged with four
counts of first degree murder, eight counts of assault
with a deadly weapon with the intent to kill inflicting
serious injury, and one count of discharging a firearm
into an occupied building. The defendant pleaded not
guilty to all counts. After a request by the defendant's
appointed attorney, the trial was moved to New Hanover
Jury selection in the case began on
February 14, 1994 and the guilt-or-innocence phase of
the trial was completed by the end of March. The jury
then deliberated for two and a half days and returned a
verdict of guilty of four counts of first degree murder
on the basis of premeditation and deliberation, guilty
of three counts of assault with a deadly weapon with
intent to kill, guilty of four counts of assault with a
deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, and guilty of
other lesser counts.
The jury was then presented with
testimony relaying aggravating and mitigating evidence.
The aggravating evidence attempted to show that the
crime was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel; that
the defendant knowingly created a risk of death to more
than one person; and that the murder was part of a
course of conduct which included other crimes of
violence against other persons. The mitigating evidence
is presented in the section about the defendant below.
Meet the victims
Willie McCormick, a cook in the
restaurant, was the first person shot, when he tried to
walk away from the defendant. He did not die.
Pete Parrous, the proprietor of the
restaurant, approached the man and asked him not to hurt
anyone. He was shot in the face and died instantly. As
Mr. Parrous fell to the ground, his wife, Ethel Parrous,
stood up screaming. She was killed and fell by her
daughter, Connie Kotsopoulos, who began screaming and
was shot in the thigh.
Wesley Cover, who had been tending to
a patron who had been hit by a pellet from the shooting,
asked the man with the gun not to hurt the woman he was
helping because she was pregnant. Mr. Cover was shot in
the head and died quickly. The woman was also shot, but
James Kidd was covering his son and
hiding in a booth. The man shot Mr. Kidd, who died
almost immediately. The son was not physically harmed.
Other patrons were wounded in the incident.
Meet the defendant
The following facts about Kenneth
French were presented to the jury considering his
On August 5, 1993 after work, Ken
French went with three friends to several bars near Ft.
Bragg, consuming a great deal of alcohol before
returning to the barracks around 3 AM on August 6.
French got up that morning around 9 AM. He visited some
friends, played with their children, got a hair cut,
rented some videos and returned to the trailer where he
was living. He started watching TV and drinking beer. In
particular, he watched a Clint Eastwood video, "The
Unforgiven," imitating some of the drinking and shooting
that was going on in the movie.
At one point, he called an old girl
friend, who reported that he sounded strange. He also
called his mother in Florida, during which call he
started crying and apologizing for not preventing the
spousal abuse that he witnessed his father direct
towards her. He also said he could have prevented the
sexual abuse and rape of his sister by his father. His
mother was so concerned that she offered to come to
console him, but he said he was all right.
Ken French has no further memory of
the events that then transpired, other than he
remembered putting guns into his truck and he remembered
shooting an older woman. French went from his trailer to
a nearby party, where others reported that he drove
erratically and that he was carrying several beers and a
bottle of Wild Turkey and that he was hyperactive. He
was overheard telling some children at the party to "shoot
or kill" black people (using a pejorative term).
French continued acting strangely and
alarmed those who saw him. He told a friend he wanted to
go to a part of town frequented by blacks and that a
black man had "raped his sister."
Evidence presented during the penalty
phase of the trial included information attempting to
show that French had no significant history of prior
criminal activity, that he was relatively young at the
time of the crime, that he had a good reputation in the
communities in which he lived, that he was a product of
a violent and chaotic home, and that he accepted
responsibility for the shootings.
(Sgt.) Kenneth Jr. French
Born: January 15, 1971
Crime: on August 6,
1993, murdered: Ethel Parrous, 65, Pete Parrous, 73,
James Kidd, 46, Wesley Cover, 26
Location of crime:
Fayetteville, North Carolina
Convictions: 4 counts-First
degree murder; 3 counts-assault with intent to kill; 5
counts-assault with intent to injure; 1 count-discharging
consecutive life terms plus 35 years
"I don't believe there's anywhere in
our Constitution that gives anybody the right to be
accepted by anybody else. When the Civil Rights Act was
passed in 1964, people automatically assumed that they
had a right to many different things. Women, blacks, now
carrying into gays. They feel that they have a right to
be accepted? Who--who do they need to accept them?"
Kenneth Jr. French was an army
sergeant for the 18th Airborne Corps stationed at Fort
Bragg in Fayetteville, North Carolina. French's profile
differs from the other men featured in Licensed To
Kill: he didn't specifically murder a homosexual,
instead, his crime was integral to his feelings towards
It was 1993 and President Clinton
announced his plans to lift the ban on gays and lesbians
in the military. French and fellow soldiers were against
it: "If you're introducing a minority group that's
frowned upon and looked upon as being weak, and your
commander's saying it's fine for him to be here, guys
are saying, 'Guess the military isn't really as tough
and bad as we thought it was.' Everybody's wanting
acceptance. It's a one-world system -- global unity.
Well, at what cost? Our military going down the drain?"
French claims he blanked out on the
evening of August 6, 1993 after drinking a fifth of
whiskey while watching Clint Eastwood's The Unforgiven,
which concludes with a violent massacre at a saloon. The
results of his ambush on Luigi's, a local family
restaurant, included four deaths and seven wounded
victims. Witnesses testified that French shouted "I'll
show you Clinton about letting gays into the army" while
shooting patrons randomly.
"I'm not gonna apologize for the
views that I hold towards gays or homosexuals but...I
don't think that I went in with the intention of just
singling out any certain group of people, be it black,
white, male, female, gay, or straight. I was just angry
at the world I guess at the time, I don't know. I was
just taking out aggression and hatred on whoever was
As of 2003, French is serving his
sentence at the Polk Youth Institution in Butner, North