Fox16 Investigates: Daughter killed by father in Benton sensed danger months before

Special Reports

BENTON, Ark. — A Saline County man has been sent to prison for the murder of his daughter, and investigators have obtained text messages she sent months before her death that appear to show she sensed danger.

On Oct. 3, 2018, Benton police officers were called out to North Shady Lane and found Jimmy Kilpatrick, 71, on the front porch of his home, covered in blood.

In body-cam footage, Kilpatrick is heard telling responding officers that he had just stabbed his 30-year-old daughter, Lila.

“Who stabbed you? ,” one of the officers says, noticing the blood on Jimmy’s arm.

“Nobody stabbed me, I stabbed my daughter,” Kilpatrick replies.

“You stabbed your daughter?” the officer can be heard asking.

Kilpatrick replies: “Yes, I did.”

Authorities would later determine that Jimmy’s bloody arm was a result of Lila’s dog attacking him after he stabbed her.

Lila was found barely breathing inside the house with a stab wound just below her chest. She later died at the hospital just a few rooms away from where Jimmy recovered from his injuries.

Crime scene photos, body cam footage, interview transcripts and extracted text messages paint a troubling picture of the Kilpatrick home where Jimmy, his wife, Myra, and Lila all lived together.

Police documents hint at ongoing feuds between Jimmy and Lila.

Hundreds of text messages included in the case file reveal repeated expressions of concern from Lila to her mom, Myra, about her father, Jimmy.

One message reads: “I think he’s dangerous, and I’m gonna prove it.”

Another one stated: “I can only tolerate so much mom.”

At one point, Lila asks Myra if there are any guns in the house.

It appears, based on documents in the case file, Myra rarely responded.

In text messages, Lila also suggested that Jimmy might be suffering from mental illnesses. As a part of the criminal case, Jimmy was examined at the state hospital where documents show doctors noted that he likely has some type of mental defect, but the determined it was not to a degree that completely affected his mental capabilities.

In the moments after the October stabbing, Myra can be heard on bodycam footage describing the fatal argument.

“It kind of happened so fast, I’m not really sure,” Myra is heard saying. “And [Lila] said ‘Mom, he’s got a knife. He’s got a knife.'”

Also at the scene, Jimmy is heard on bodycam footage mentioning his and his daughter’s arguments.

“This has been something going on a long time, officer,” Jimmy says.

Jimmy pleaded no contest to a murder charge in January and was sentenced to 20 years in prison with 12 years suspended. He is currently in the Barbara Ester prison unit in Pine Bluff where records show he will be eligible for parole in November 2022.

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