‘Cold Justice’ uses old-school methods, technology to track Muleshoe murder suspect

BY GAIL M. WILLIAMS
Muleshoe Journal Correspondent

From “Law and Order: SVU” to “Perry Mason” reruns, people are fascinated by murder mysteries.
But real-life murders are not solved in one hour, and sometimes it can take decades or longer before a cold case is closed.
“Cold Justice” recently came to Muleshoe, and with the help of Bailey County Sheriff Richard Wills and Det. Hugo Rivera, investigated a 12-year-old murder that had never been solved.
Veteran prosecutor Kelly Siegler is the lead investigator on the show, which is produced by Dick Wolf of “Law and Order” fame and airs on Oxygen. In the episode “Danger at Dawn,” Siegler is assisted by Abbey Abbondandolo, homicide investigator.
The investigators travel through scenes familiar to Muleshoe area residents, down dirt roads past hay bales and cattle to arrive at the crime scene, a deserted house that was once the home of Jonathan (Wongo) Kindle.
An emotional 911 call at 5:17 a.m. on Oct. 12, 2006, alerted the sheriff’s office that a murder had been committed at Kindle’s farm home near Maple. Kindle, 25, was a cotton farmer who had just brought in his first crop. He had been shot in the back of the head by what appeared to be either a 38 or 357 caliber pistol. No murder weapon was found.
The call was made by girlfriend Jennifer Sparkman. Sparkman said she had called Kindle on the road, but their call was interrupted by a middle-of-the-night knock at Kindle’s door. When she tried to call him back, her phone’s battery was dead.
Kindle is remembered fondly by friends and family members, including his father, Joey Kindle; mother Carolyn Kindle; and brothers, Keith and Chris Kindle. The murder of their son and brother has opened a huge hole in their lives and caused a rift with another branch of the family.
The Cold Justice team narrows the suspects to two – Sparkman and Kindle’s cousin Bryan Kindle. Bryan had known Sparkman for two years, while her relationship with Kindle had only been going on for two months. The feelings that the three have for one another is brought into play and is portrayed as a love triangle. Bryan Kindle owns a number of guns.
The team uses old school crime investigation, speaking to friends and family members of the suspects and the victim. Technology also comes into play with ballistics and cell phone tracking as well as recovered chat messages between Kindle and Sparkman.
Investigators speak to both Bryan Kindle and Sparkman. Bryan is forthcoming about his whereabouts and memories of the time, which closely matches his original statement. Something in Sparkman’s story, however, is not quite right.
In Perry Mason style, it all comes down to the “time element.” The team gathers enough evidence to bring the case to Kathryn Garley, DA, and from there to the Grand Jury.
The show, which aired Sept. 1, can be viewed on YouTube. Search for Cold Justice, Season 5, Episode 5.

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