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Dorian Frank O'KELLEY





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Rape - Robbery - Arson
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: April 12, 2002
Date of arrest: Next day
Date of birth: 1981
Victims profile: Susan Pittman, 41, and her daughter Kimberly, 13
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife
Location: Chatham County, Georgia, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on November 17, 2005

photo gallery


Georgia Supreme Court


opinion s08p0916


Accused killer says he taped attack

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

The man accused of killing a Savannah mother and daughter before setting their Whitfield Avenue house on fire claims to have videotaped parts of his assault on the 13-year-old.

In a 24-page letter to an inmate he met at the Chatham County jail, Dorian Frank O'Kelley said he propped a video camera on a shelf in Susan and Kimberly Pittman's home in order to get clear shots of the attack.

The Pittmans' charred remains were discovered in April 2002.

A motion filed by defense attorneys earlier sought to restrict the crime scene photos the jury could see. That motion makes it clear that very little of the bodies survived the blaze so no physical evidence of a sexual assault could be recovered.

In June 2002, a grand jury indicted O'Kelley and pal Darryl Stinski, who lived next door to the slain mother and daughter. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Det. Robert von Lowenfeldt of the Savannah Chatham Metropolitan Police Department used O'Kelley's letter as the basis for an Oct. 27 search warrant application. O'Kelley had written the tape was in his mother's safe-deposit box. Police subsequently learned that box was at the BB&T bank on Hodgson Memorial Drive.

Superior Court Judge James Bass Jr. approved the warrant, but von Lowenfeldt did not find the tape there.

Von Lowenfeldt's application reveals O'Kelley also wrote about "how he raped, sodomized, tortured and killed Kimberly Pittman," according to the warrant application, which was filed with the clerk of court. He wrote that he'd retrieved the camera from the trunk of a car.

Neither Chief Assistant District Attorney David Lock nor defense attorneys Michael Edwards or Brian Daly could comment about the possibility of any video because Judge Bass issued a gag order prohibiting anyone involved in the case from speaking about it.

Two weeks ago, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled unanimously to exclude a detailed confession O'Kelley made to detectives after he'd requested an attorney during a routine court hearing.

Prosecutors, however, likely will try to introduce the letter into evidence.

O'Kelley wrote the letter to Chris Bowen, who is now incarcerated in state prison. The two met while both were assigned to the same unit at the county jail.

After a woman accused Bowen, 19, of sexual assault in September 2001, he pleaded to a charge of aggravated assault. He is scheduled for release in March 2005.

Bowen contacted his attorney after receiving the O'Kelley letter on Oct. 21, von Lowenfeldt said in the application. His attorney forwarded it to police.


Jury selected in death penalty trial

Monday, October 31, 2005

After seven days of jury selection, lawyers in the death penalty trial of Dorian Frank O'Kelley have picked a jury.

Opening statements in the case are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. today.

O'Kelley is charged with murder in connection with the slayings of Susan Pittman and her daughter Kimberly, 13.

According to police reports and court documents, O'Kelley and Darryl Stinski killed the Savannah mother and daughter then set their Whitfield Avenue house on fire in the early morning hours of April 11, 2002.

Stinski, who is also facing the death penalty, will be tried separately at a later date.

In death penalty cases, potential jurors are interviewed individually about their views on the death penalty. They are also asked what, if anything, they may know about the case.

Over the past week, lawyers in the case have questioned about 200 potential jurors.

Before selecting a jury of 12 plus alternates, 60 potential jurors must be qualified by the judge. That means they must be able to consider the death penalty as a sentence. The two other options are a life sentence without the possibility of parole and a life sentence with the possibility of parole.

After today, jurors will be sequestered throughout the trial, which is expected to last at least through the week.


Convicted Killer of Mother and Daughter Appeals Death Sentence

By Barbara Herring -

May 15, 2008

Dorian Frank O’Kelley is appealing his sentence to death following his conviction in Chatham County for the murders of Susan Pittman, 41, and her 13-year-old daughter, Kimberly Pittman. O'Kelley's case will be argued before the Georgia Supreme Court next week.

Background on the Case - information from the Supreme Court of Georgia:


The State contends the evidence at trial showed that in the early morning of April 11, 2002, two Chatham County police officers were leaving a convenience store when they spotted a fire and rushed to the scene, where they found a house fully engulfed in flames. One of the officers saw two men, O’Kelley and Darryl Stinski, watching from across the street. Later, investigators found the two bodies. Susan Pittman had died from blunt force trauma to the head and stab wounds to her heart and abdomen, and was probably dead before the fire was started. Her daughter, on the other hand, died from smoke inhalation. That evening, O’Kelley and Stinski brought a red duffle bag to the trailer where Stinski was staying. O’Kelley told a group there that he and Stinski had stolen items from cars, and he told one member that he’d slit Susan Pittman’s throat and raped her daughter “just for his pleasure.” He showed the man a tooth in his wallet that he said was the girl’s. The group later phoned police and reported what O’Kelley had said, and what items they had found in the bag, including pill bottles with Susan Pittman’s name on them. The men were arrested the next day, and officers found what appeared to be a tooth in O’Kelley’s wallet. At trial, the jury heard a taped statement in which O’Kelley confessed he’d beaten and stabbed the victims, as well as raped and sodomized the 13-year-old, then started the fire when she was still alive.

In 2005, a jury convicted O’Kelley of the malice murders of Susan and Kimberly Pittman, as well as cruelty to children, arson, burglary and other crimes. Following the sentencing phase, the jury found he qualified for the death penalty due to several aggravating circumstances, which included that the murders were “outrageously or wantonly vile, horrible or inhuman.” O’Kelley now appeals his conviction and death sentence to the Supreme Court.


Attorneys for O’Kelley argue the trial court erred by failing to exclude six jurors who were biased in favor of a death sentence. All should have been struck for cause, including a state representative whose “personal, public and political life” rendered him incapable of voting for any other punishment, including life in prison with or without the possibility of parole. The failure of the court to exclude those six jurors, “deprived O’Kelley of his rights to a fair and impartial jury,” they argue. The court also erred by not letting the defense  give an opening statement prior to the four-day sentencing phase, where they presented 22 witnesses to testify why O’Kelley’s life should be spared. The court also erred in denying the defense’s motion to declare Georgia’s lethal injection protocol unconstitutional.

The State argues the court properly qualified the jurors and that the complete record shows none demonstrated a bias that would impair their ability to be impartial. The State also argues there is no inherent right of a criminal defendant to present an opening statement during the penalty phase of a trial. Finally, execution by lethal injection does not violate the Constitution’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.



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