Sometime around the late
P.M. hours of 10/11/99 and the early A.M. hours of 10/12/99 a
black male in his early twenties, Jeremiah Engleton, was
arrested at the home he shared with his wife, Violet Engelton.
Also living with the Engletons were Kenneth Vodochodsky and his
girlfriend, Sara Lopez. Children also lived in the home.
Jeremiah and Kenneth were friends since boyhood. Violet and Sara
are sisters. The home where Jeremiah was arrested was a mobile
home in rural Atascosa County. Jeremiah Engleton was arrested
for hitting Violet, and threatening her life. Violet called the
Sheriff, and Deputy Thomas Monse responded to a family violence
call at the trailer in the early hours of 10/12/99.
indicated that Deputy Monse allowed Jeremiah to give $ 1,000 to
Kenneth for bond. The marriage of Jeremiah and Violet had been
strained since Violet admitted to a brief affair with another
man a few months before.
Jeremiah was in jail for
one day (10/12/99). Meanwhile, Jeremiah’s wife Violet was in the
process of filing a restraining order against him, moving from
the trailer, and seeking housing for herself and the couple’s
daughter. Throughout 10/12/99, Violet shuttled about the local
area, visiting her work place, a crises center, an apartment
complex with vacancy, and the residence of Annette Vodochodsky (Kenneth’s
mother). On 10/12/99, Violet was in the process of distancing
her life, daughter, and personal belongings from Jeremiah, who
had physically assaulted her just the night before. This was not
the first time Jeremiah had assaulted her in recent months.
By the time Jeremiah
returned home from jail Violet was gone. Jeremiah spent much of
the afternoon at the trailer ranting to himself and Kenneth
about growing resentment of Violet, and how he wanted to hurt
her. The two also watched a movie called “Saving Private Ryan”,
which was one of Jeremiah’s favorites. The two men spent time
cleaning outside the trailer, and burned trash. Kenneth also
noticed that Jeremiah appeared to be packing as if he was going
on a trip. Kenneth thought Jeremiah might be going to his mom’s
house for a few days.
At 8:07pm on 10/12/99
Jeremiah placed a 911 call to the Atascosa County Sheriff’s
Department from the trailer where he lived. Jeremiah then told
Kenneth that he had called 911 and that he should leave if he
did not want to be involved. At this point Kenneth believed his
friend might be preparing to kill himself, and had called 911so
police would discover his body, rather than having a friend or
loved one find him. Kenneth was confused, a bit scared, and
couldn’t figure out why he would pack as if to travel, if he
were going to kill himself. Nonetheless, rather than possibly
watch a friend commit suicide, he left. First however, he had to
“jump start” his car, since it would not start due to a dead
battery. Kenneth jumped his car off Jeremiah’s car around 8:10pm
with Jeremiah’s help.
Deputy Monse arrived at
the trailer, not long after the 911 call, at approximately
8:28pm according to county records. Upon exiting his patrol car,
Jeremiah shot him. Not long afterwards, Jeremiah shot a second
Deputy, Mark Stephenson, and then a third arriving officer,
Texas DPS Trooper Miller. All three officers died in the ambush.
Later in the night, the
body of Jeremiah was found by law enforcement in nearby brush,
with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. On
Jeremiah’s person was a “Suicide Note” which read: “I have
written this for one reason so that all will know why I have
done what I’ve done, because of life’s unfairness and
Later, another suicide
note surfaced, which Jeremiah had written to Violet, expressing
sorrow over their failed marriage, and asking Violet to tell
their daughter the truth of his death.
Jeremiah had made
remarks about committing suicide for months. His behavior
between learning of his wife’s affair and the triple murder/suicide
of 10/12/99 reveal a young man who had stopped caring for his
home, his property, stopped paying the bills regularly, spent
money in an uncharacteristically reckless manner, craved his own
death, and would like to go out the same way the characters did
in the movie, “Set It Off”. This film involves a group of women
who die in a shootout with police.
Later that evening
during the standoff, while Jeremiah was battling with the law
enforcement officials that surrounded the trailer, Sara and
Kenneth tried to return to the trailer via car, but were turned
away by the officer at a road block due to a situation involving
a “gunman”. They then drove to Violet’s work and picked her up
and returned to Kenneth’s brother’s house (Anthony). Once at
Anthony’s they watched TV to see if the news revealed any
reports of the situation. At that point Kenneth, Sara, Violet
and Anthony learned that Jeremiah had killed himself along with
3 police officers. Jeremiah also wounded three others in the
During that tragic
evening of 10/12/99 three uniformed law enforcement officers
were ambushed and killed in the line of duty in rural Atascosa
County, in what has become to be known as the “Atascosa Ambush”.
Two officers and a passer-by were also wounded in this
unfortunate turn of a failed marriage.
The tragic incident
received statewide media attention, including intense news
coverage by San Antonio television, radio and its newspapers.
The shootings occurred not far from San Antonio. Due to the
massive media coverage the trial was moved to Karnes County, TX.
Kenneth was tried for a crime he was not even present at, had no
knowledge of and surely couldn’t have predicted, let alone
stopped. The trial took place in rural Karnes County where
Kenneth was tried, convicted and sentenced to death.
THE CHARGES AGAINST
On 10/15/1999 Kenneth
Vodochodsky was arrested on suspicion of participating in the
ambush. Kenneth was charged that same day with three counts of
Capital Murder and two counts of Attempted Capital Murder. While
in custody, he was indicted for Capital Murder of a police
officer – Deputy Monse.
The indictment charged
that Kenneth “knowingly” caused Monse’s death by shooting him
with a firearm. The indictment further charged that “the said
Thomas Monse was then and there a peace officer… who was acting
in the lawful discharge of an official duty, and (Vodochodsky)
knew Thomas Monse was a peace officer.” At trial, the jury was
instructed on the “Law of Parties”, and were told to find
Kenneth guilty of Capital Murder under the “Law of Parties” if
they found that he acted “with intent to promote or assist
Jeremiah Engleton to commit the offense of Capital Murder, and
did then and there solicit, encourage, direct, aid or attempt to
aid Jeremiah Engleton to commit the offense…”
The “Law of Parties”, as
applied to Kenneth, states that a person is criminally
responsible as a party to a crime if the crime is committed by
the conduct of another (Jeremiah Engleton). It further states
that a person is criminally responsible for the conduct of
another if, acting with intent to promote or assist the
commission of the crime he solicits, encourages, directs, aids
or attempts to aid the other person to commit the crime.
One of the reasons
Kenneth was charged with Capital Murder under the “Law of
Parties” is because he did not actually murder anyone! In other
words, Kenneth received the maximum sentence – DEATH – for not
even murdering anyone! This unique charge is being widely used
in the State of Texas to land more innocent people on Death Row.
On April 21st 2004, the
Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned the Conviction and
Death Sentence of Kenneth Vodochodsky in a 6-2 opinion.
The opinion of the Texas
Court of Criminal Appeals was written by Judge Michael Keasler.
The other five justices agreeing with the overturning decision
included judge Paul Womack, Judge Tom Price, Judge Cheryl
Johnson, Judge Charles Holcomb and Judge Cathy Cochran. Voting
to uphold the conviction were Judge Sharon Keller and Judge
The focus of the opinion
was whether or not the evidence presented at trial to the jury
was legally and factually sufficient to convict Kenneth. The
opinion stated that, under a factual sufficiency review, “…we
view all the evidence in an neutral light, both for and against
the finding, and set aside the verdict if proof of guilt is so
obviously weak as to undermine confidence in the jury’s
determination….” It further stated that, “in conducting such a
review, we consider all the evidence weighed by the jury…”
The decision of the six
justices voting to overturn Kenneth’s Conviction and Death
Sentence agreed that the “evidence was factually insufficient to
They agreed that none of
the evidence necessarily suggests that Kenneth acted with intent
to promote or assist Jeremiah Engleton in the crime. They also
agreed that the weight of the evidence in this case is too weak
to support the jury’s conclusion that Kenneth solicited,
encouraged, directed, aided or attempted to aid Jeremiah
Engleton in committing the crime.
The Justices further
agreed that there is no other information in the trial record
suggesting that Kenneth was planning the crime with Jeremiah.
They even agreed that there was other evidence suggesting that
Kenneth was NOT working with Jeremiah in plotting the ambush
that left three police officers dead, stating that, “There is no
evidence that Vodochodsky actually did any affirmative act to
assist Engleton with the plan. Instead, Vodochodsky had the bad
luck of being the friend and roommate of a man determined to
kill police officers and himself.”
The Justices concluded
that “proof of Vodochodsky’s guilt was so weak as to undermine
confidence in the jury’s determination. We reverse Vodochodsky’s
conviction and sentence.”
In wake of Kenneth’s
conviction and Death Sentence being overturned by the Texas
Court of Criminal Appeals on April 21st, 2004, the State of
Texas had filed what’s called a “Motion for Rehearing”. This
motion was filed to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on or
about May 6th, 2004.
The basic contents of
this Motion for Rehearing was the State of Texas citing
different case law on why the Court of Criminal Appeals should
not/cannot overturn Kenneth’s Conviction and Death Sentence.
Basically, the State was trying to convince the Court of
Criminal Appeals to affirm Kenneth’s Conviction and Death
Sentence, rather than overturn it.
However, whenever the
state files such a motion to the Court of Criminal Appeals, they
are almost always unsuccessful. On March 15th, 2005 the Texas
Court of Criminal Appeals denied the state’s motion for
rehearing! Kenneth’s conviction and death sentence remained
On April 11th, 2005 the
Texas Court of Criminal Appeals decision/opinion that overturned
Kenneth’s conviction and death sentence, became final.
And finally, on April
22nd, 2005 Kenneth was transferred to a county jail, where he
awaited further disposition by the State.
The following then took
In order for the State
to retry this case, and reuse all their old “factually
insufficient” evidence, they had to produce new/additional
evidence, otherwise they would have to release Kenneth. Well,
since there was no new/additional evidence to be found, the
State decided to "fabricate" some new evidence, just to keep
Kenneth behind bars!
This new evidence came
in form of 2 new witnesses. For some unexplainable reason, these
new witnesses didn’t come forward several years before, when the
crime took place.
It’s very interesting
that these new witnesses decided to come forward now, at this
point in time, after so many years, when the State was so
desperate to find new/additional evidence to retry this case.
Even more interesting is
that, one of these new witnesses – Pedro Garcia – just happened
to be really good friends with one of the lead investigators
working for the State against Kenneth.
Pedro Garcia stated that
he met Kenneth and Jeremiah at the convenience store only hours
before the shooting. He also stated that Jeremiah told him that
he was planning to “shoot some pigs…” And so this witness
concluded that, after hearing about the shooting on the news,
that Jeremiah was talking about shooting police officers, and
not “pigs”. He also stated that the reason he never came forward
several years before was because he was afraid for his family,
and he didn’t think that the police would need his information…
But after hearing on the news that Kenneth was no longer on
Death Row, and that he could possibly be released due to the
State’s lack of evidence, only then did he appear out of nowhere
and came forward…
So all of a sudden,
Pedro Garcia was no longer afraid for his family, and he now
believed his information was important?! Why was that?! It’s
because he’s lying! And his good friend, one of the lead
investigators for the State, worked with him to “fabricate” his
statement, in order to keep Kenneth incarcerated! Pedro Garcia’s
entire statement was fabricated to coincide with the factually
insufficient evidence the State already had, as to try and
strengthen it for use against Kenneth again.
And the other new
witness – Shirley Brewster – claimed to have gone to college
with Jeremiah, many years ago. She stated that Jeremiah had
spoken to her one day about his plans to kill police officers…
If that was true, then why didn’t she tell anyone then?! Why
wait several years “after” what was supposedly said to her
happened?! And judging her statement, it’s clear that the State
worked with her as well to fabricate her statement! And she gave
no reason as to why she didn’t came forward several years ago.
So now that the State
had deceitfully produced these fabricated witnesses as “new/additional
evidence”, they could reuse all their old evidence, which was
deemed “factually insufficient” by the Texas Court of Criminal
Being that Kenneth is
innocent, this seemed like a good reason to fight this case.
However, since Kenneth can’t afford to hire his own attorney,
the State provided him with a “court-appointed” attorney…
Unfortunately though, this court appointed attorney was the same
one who was appointed to handle Kenneth’s first trial, which
ultimately landed Kenneth on Death Row! So it’s pretty obvious
that this attorney wasn’t qualified or competent enough to
handle such a serious case.
And to prove this, all
one had to do is look at what this attorney has accomplished
since Kenneth’s transfer back to the county jail … You won’t
find anything! Because Kenneth’s court-appointed attorney did
absolutely NOTHING to try and obtain Kenneth's freedom. All this
attorney did (for nearly one year) was to pressure Kenneth into
accepting a plea bargain, instead of going to trial again. This
attorney also said that, no matter what, no jury would find
Kenneth innocent, just because of the seriousness of the crime,
and because it were police officers that were killed. He further
said that it didn’t matter how weak and insufficient the
evidence was against Kenneth, that it was a no win situation …
So Kenneth asked the
judge overseeing the case to have his court-appointed attorney
removed, and to be replaced with someone more competent, who
will fight for Kenneth’s freedom. But the judge denied the
request! He only instructed the attorney to work better with and
After all that has been
said and done, Kenneth had some serious thinking to do… He
basically was now left with only two options: Go to trial again
with fabricated evidence and an incompetent attorney; or take a
plea bargain with a 30-year-prison-term…
Going to trial would
result in one of two outcomes: Kenneth would either be found not
guilty and possibly go free; or he would be found guilty and
receive a Life Sentence (meaning he would have to serve 40 years
flat before becoming eligible for parole).
Now, the 30-year plea
bargain calls for Kenneth to serve at least 15 years before
becoming eligible for parole. But since Kenneth has been
incarcerated since 1999, he would see parole in 2014! That’s not
very far away.
After taking into
consideration the fact that Kenneth’s court-appointed attorney
was incompetent, and refused to fight for Kenneth’s freedom; and
the fact that the State was producing fabricated evidence, and
seemed to stop at nothing to keep Kenneth incarcerated… Kenneth
decided that it would be in his best interest to accept the 30-year
plea bargain. At least now he has a chance to obtain his freedom
in a somewhat reasonable amount of time (compared with a Life
Sentence, or even the Death Sentence he had before).
Kenneth is now back in
prison, serving his 30-year sentence… But this is not the end!
Kenneth can still file an appeal, and even ask for a time
reduction. The only negative part about this is, Kenneth would
have to either file an appeal himself, or hire his own appeal
Since Kenneth doesn’t
know enough about the law to file an appeal on his own, and he
can’t afford to hire his own appeal attorney, Kenneth’s family
and friends are accepting donations, and trying to raise money
for an appeal attorney, and hopefully a private investigator as
well. Anybody interested in helping – in any aspect – should use
the contact information below. Many thanks for your time and
information about Kenneth
Many greetings and best
wishes to everyone who is taking the time to read this.
I want to begin this
with a small introduction/description of myself…
My full name is Kenneth
Conrad Vodochodsky, but all my family and friends call me “Kenny”.
I was born on August 16, 1980. So that makes me a Leo! *smile*
I was born and raised in
San Antonio, Texas. My nationality is half White, half Hispanic.
I am currently single (never been married). I believe in God,
but I don’t practice any particular religion. I’m a non-smoker,
but I enjoy a casual drink on special occasions. I have a son
whom I love and miss more than anything.
Physically I am 5’ 8’’
in height; I weight 160 lbs. I have black hair and brown eyes.
Oh, and I have some tattoos! *smile*
I have many interests/hobbies:
Reading (all types of books), Writing (letters, poems etc.),
Drawing (various types of drawings), Music (all types), Movies (mostly
action). My interests include all types of automobiles; flying
machines, electronics/technology, outdoor adventures… and some
If you would like more
information about me and/or my case / current situation, please
feel free to contact me via snail-mail. I would love to hear
from you - be it good or bad. *smile*
Pack I Unit
2400 Wallace Pack Rd.
Navasota, TX 77868