Two incarcerated cousins who declare their innocence of a murder committed 26 years ago, have been refused a new trial.

In support of his denial of a new trial, Judge Gunnar Sundby said he didn’t believe Carter Betts, the cousin’s uncle, testimony that he was coerced by Roger Golubski to identify Brian Betts and Celester McKinney as shooters of 17-year old Gregory Miller.

During the original trial, Carter Betts was the key witness in the case against the cousins.  He testified that the two confessed to him that they had shot Miller.  Years later, he recanted on his testimony, citing he was coerced into the testimony by Kansas City Kansas Police Officers.  

Despite the “cloud of doubt” surrounding recent allegations and charges against retired KCKPD officer Golubski, Judge Sundby said he didn’t find Carter Betts testimony to be credible.

Connecting to Golubski 

The cousins were hoping for a new trial based on the allegations unmasked by the exoneration of another KCK man, Lamonte McIntyre, in which allegations of wrongdoing by KCKPD police officers were used to throw out his conviction.  McIntyre has maintained Golubski was behind framing him for the murder he was convicted of.  

In his ruling, Judge Sundby indicated it appeared the cousins were trying to take advantage of the recent charges filed against Golubski and the McIntyre case and that they failed to adequately connect Golubski to the case.  

Golubski wasn’t identified in the case documents, instead a Black detective, W.K. Smith, is  identified as the detective on the case.  Several former KCKPD officers testified Smith often worked with Golubski.  

Golbuski testified during the hearing held in October that he didn’t have any connection to the case.  However, Betts and McKinney attorneys questioned the validity of that statement when they brought  up the fact that Golubskis at one point was Miller’s uncle through marriage and the brother-in-law of a witness in the case, facts that were not disclosed during the original trial.  

Betts and McKinney’s Statement  

On the night of Miller’s homicide, Betts and McKinney said they returned home around midnight after a cleaning job. At the time, Betts and Mckinney were both living with their uncle Carter Betts and working for his janitorial business.  

Brian Betts was with his girlfriend and child in the back of the house. The front of the house had only one door, and it was locked from the inside with a key held by Carter Betts, and there were bars on the windows, which left Brian Betts no way to leave the house with out Carter Betts knowing it.  

Brian Betts,46, and McKinney, 52, say the battle is not over. “We are going to continue to fight!” Betts said.  “I maintain that I am innocent of this, and we’re moving on to the next level with the appeal.” 

The shooting happened at approximately 3 a.m. in the surrounding neighborhood. A neighbor called the police to report the shots, and said they saw two shooters running, with one running into the alley next to Carter Betts’ house. 

The neighbor later said they saw this shooter enter the rear of the house, but an officer pointed out this was not part of the original report, according to a 2001 Kansas Supreme Court document.

Brian Betts,46, and McKinney, 52, say the battle is not over. “We are going to continue to fight!” Betts said.  “I maintain that I am innocent of this, and we’re moving on to the next level with the appeal.” 

Update on Golubski

Golubski’s attorneys recently filed a motion requesting he be allowed off house arrest while awaiting trial. Currently, Golubski can only leave the house for medical appointments and kidney dialysis and court hearings.

The retired cop is currently facing federal sex trafficking, kidnapping and rape charges. His attorney noted that of his co-conspirators in the sexual traffic case, two are out on bail, without house arrest.  The third is currently serving time in Federal prison on other charges.  

His attorneys are also claiming the charges against Golubski are mostly trumped up and wrongful claims based on the efforts of Atty. Cheryl Pilate, who she said helped encourage people to come forward and share claims of wrongdoing by Golubski with the promise that they could possibly win huge dollars in lawsuits against the City of Kansas City. 

Pilates represented LaMonte McIntyre who recently was awarded $12.5 million in a settlement with Wyandotte County.  McIntryre, an exoneree, who served 20 years in jail for a murder he did not commit.  

Pilates may have encouraged individuals to come forward with accusations against Golubski, but ultimately, it was the FBI who investigated the case that led to the charges filed against Golubski.  

Golubski’s next hearings are scheduled for Mar. 14 and Mar. 29

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Simone Garza

Simone Garza is a reporter in our Kansas City office. In addition to general reporting on Kansas City’s African-American community, she reports on economic inclusion for the African American community....