Oakey “Al” Kite was an all-around nice guy. The divorced 53-year-old had lived in Aurora, just east of Denver, Colorado, since 1998 and loved it. He enjoyed the outdoors and all the activities the state had to offer. Friends and family described him as a compassionate and trusting man, which may have been his downfall.
On May 24th, 2004, Al’s employer grew concerned when he failed to show up for work, so they contacted his sister, who lived in another state. She called the police and requested a welfare check.
The police were dispatched to Al’s condo on 2002 South Helena Street, not realizing the horrific scene they were about to encounter. They discovered Al deceased, bound and tied up, face down in a basement bedroom. It was a gruesome scene.
His hands were tied to his ankles and had extensive wounds on the bottoms of his feet. The coroner performed an autopsy, and the results shocked everyone. It was determined Al died Saturday, May 22nd, and was tortured for hours. The killer used Al’s kitchen knives to insert above his eyeballs and into his ears and shoulders. Unfortunately, it didn’t end there. The killer viciously stabbed Al 22 times, and his head was almost severed. The killer took his time and was extremely careful to clean up the scene. Police found all the kitchen knives, a honing rod, house key, pen, drinking glass, and Al’s car keys, soaking in a sink full of bleach to destroy any DNA. The killer also took a shower, poured bleach down the drains, and even took trash with him. Fortunately, he forgot two things; his bloodstain on the basement stairs and a rental agreement found crumpled up in a trash can. This would be the detectives first clue into who might have murdered Al.
Al lived in a condo with a full basement that he liked to rent out for extra money. The basement unit had a bathroom, bedroom, and family room. There was only one window in the small bedroom but no exit doors. The only way in and out was through the main floor front door.
The condos had garages in the back and had no driveways, only street parking on side streets.
Al’s renters had recently moved out, and he posted an ad in the library of the nearby University Of Colorado Medical School. A few weeks before Al’s murder, a man, using the alias Robert Cooper, answered the ad telling Al he was from the East Coast and worked for Wells Fargo. Al arranged for Robert to see the unit. Al’s girlfriend, Linda, happened to stop by while Robert was down in the basement. Al wanted Linda to meet Robert, but she asked to use the bathroom before Robert came back up. Linda said Robert rushed out the front door before she could introduce herself, which she found odd. She noticed the man was well dressed, had a limp, and carried a cane in his right hand. She didn’t get a good feeling from him and was happy when Al said the man didn’t want to rent the unit. But Robert contacted Al later and said he wanted to move in and gave Al a deposit on May 18th, four days before Al’s murder. Al gave Robert a key to the home. Law enforcement believe Robert Cooper is responsible for murdering Al Kite.
All the information Robert Cooper supplied Al on the rental agreement was false. The name, social security number, references, and even his current address were all for other people or businesses. Detectives discovered Cooper’s cell phone was a burner(prepaid) phone purchased at a 7-11 in March 2004. Cooper waited 30 days to activate the phone; exactly how long the store kept their surveillance footage before taping over it. This made it impossible for the police to see who purchased the phone. Cooper only used the phone to communicate with people renting out properties. One woman Cooper contacted showed him her rental property. She said he gave her the creeps, and he only seemed interested in the windows and doors. She taught Romanian at a local college and noticed Cooper had a hint of a Romanian accent.
May 22nd, 2004
The last person to speak to Al before his death was Linda. He dropped her off at the airport that morning for a trip, and she called him twice. He spent the other part of his day fixing a pipe with a neighbor. The last time Linda called Al was at 3:30 pm when she arrived at her destination. She stated the first conversation was normal, but at 3:30 pm, Al was short with her and sounded odd. Linda believes Robert Cooper was in the condo by this time and Al was getting bad vibes.
Atm surveillance records show the suspect took Al’s truck and withdrew $1000. He was wearing a ski mask to conceal his identity.
Detectives believe he killed Al, spent the night at the condo, and used the vehicle to withdraw money. He then returned the truck, parked it a block and half away from the condo, and threw the truck keys into the sink of bleach before leaving.
Bindings and Torture
Al’s case was featured on The DNA of Murder with Paul Holes on Oxygen Channel in 2019. Paul met with a bindings expert, Lindsey Philpott, and intelligence analyst, Julie Quinn, to get their take on the bindings and torture methods used. The bindings were odd because Al was bound around the upper arms, above the elbows, and twice above the knee. This type of hogtying is connected to the Turkish Hezbollah group, a violent radical Kurdish Islamic group organized in the 1980s. The group’s purpose was to secure a separate Islamic state in Turkey. The whipping of Al’s feet is unusual to investigators as well. There’s a type of foot beating called Falaka, a kind of corporal punishment that involves beating the soles of a person’s feet and is excruciatingly painful. This method is common in Turkey. The honing rod found in Al’s sink was most likely used for the injuries on Al’s feet.
Police believe the murder was meticulously planned and theorize Al was chosen because he lived alone and didn’t have family in the area who could drop by and interrupt the murder. The location and set up of the condo was likely another reason the killer picked him. Police also think this was most likely not his first murder. Aurora Police Detective Tom Sobieski has stated he thinks the murderer is a very meticulous psychopath killer and the only motive was to kill someone.
In 2017, Aurora police used a Virginia lab to develop a composite image of the suspect using the DNA left at the crime scene. Its believed the murderer was a white male 40-50 years old at the time of the murder and had southeastern European ancestry.
The DNA sample was put in the FBI’s National DNA Index System, but there have been no matches as of 2021. Paul Holes had the blood sample tested for ancestral info, and it linked the suspect’s lineage to the Balkan region, an area in southeastern Europe.
As of 2021, the Aurora police and the FBI have conducted genealogy testing and are building the suspect’s family tree, so its hopeful it’s only a matter of time before Al’s murderer is caught.
Anyone with information is encouraged to reach out to Detective Thomas Sobieski of the Aurora Police Department 303-739-6710.