by Jason Wright / Appen Newspapers
August 27, 2009
Milton's first murder case has come to a close.
Milton police and the U.S. Marshal's Service announced Kisha "Key" Rutledge, the alleged mastermind behind the June 2007 shooting death of Keith Brown at the Preserve at Deerfield apartments, was arrested Aug. 26 in Houston, Texas.
Rutledge, who has been on the run for more than two years, was arrested without incident and is in Harris County jail awaiting extradition to Georgia, said Capt. Shawn McCarty, a spokesman for the Milton Police Department.
McCarty said help from the GBI, Marshal's Service, and television show "America's Most Wanted," which first aired an episode that detailed Keith Brown's shooting in March and re-aired it the first week of August, was key to her capture.
"That has been the backbone of helping us get through this," he said.
When caught, Rutledge denied her identity, said Alex Camacho, an inspector with the U.S. Marshal's Service Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force. Investigators were able to ascertain it was her, however, because of a tattoo that said "Key," her nickname, on her arm.
Angeline Hartmann is a correspondent with America's Most Wanted. She said producers with the show were on the phone with Marshals when they arrested Rutledge. Authorities were having a tough time making sure they had the right woman, Hartmann said, because Rutledge was well versed in giving false names, dates of birth and social security numbers.
"We said, 'Check her tattoos,'" said Hartmann. "They did and said it was her."
Rutledge's arrest ends a lurid, sensational case that came to a close because of tips gained from the episode. Camacho said tips collected from that last airing — corroborated with "credible" information from sources at the Marshal's Service — led to Rutledge's capture. It ended a chase that wove through Georgia, Florida and Louisiana, said McCarty.
"The public is invaluable, we can not do it without their assistance," said Camacho.
Two of Rutledge's alleged accomplices in Brown's shooting death, Jeff Dulcio and Michelle Morrison, were convicted to life in prison in April for their parts in the Crime. Stephen Woods, the third defendant, pled guilty to criminal attempt to commit armed robbery and a weapons charge and received a lesser sentence.
According to information presented in court, Brown was killed because he had a lot of cash on hand and made the mistake of crossing Rutledge, who ran an alleged escort service named "Atlanta's Keys."
He began making private arrangements with Rutledge's girls directly, bypassing the madame, said prosecutors. Brown also reportedly had the girls doing clerical work for his pressure-washing business, among other things. That's because Brown and his wife had recently separated, and she usually took care of the paperwork side of the business.
Detectives said Dulcio and Woods were "gang bangers" who apparently knew Rutledge from several nightclubs in Atlanta. She allegedly ordered the hit on Brown, and Dulcio pulled the trigger.
When Brown called Morrison, an adult entertainer, on the early summer evening for a "date," he instead was met by the two men at his apartment. Morrison and Rutledge stayed in the car.
An avid gun collector, Brown was armed, for which Dulcio and Woods had not accounted. Dulcio and Brown got into a shoot-out in Brown's apartment, and he died calling 911 from his cell phone.
Woods was arrested just nine days after the crime, while Dulcio was caught July 12, 2007. Morrison, the getaway driver in the deal and one of Rutledge's prostitutes, turned herself in Oct. 24, 2007.
There have been four homicides since Milton incorporated in December 2006. All four suspects are behind bars.
The suspect in Milton's second homicide case, 28-year-old Buffalo, N.Y. native Alan Hall, was sentenced March 30 to two consecutive life sentences plus five years for murdering two drug dealers in Milton's Avensong neighborhood in October 2007.
Ramero Furman has been in police custody since Sept. 4, 2008, when he allegedly stabbed to death his girlfriend, 33-year-old Marianela Smith, in front of her 5-year-old son outside their North Park Estates apartment home on Deerfield Parkway. Furman then turned the knife on himself in an apparent and unsuccessful attempt at suicide.