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Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 7:01 PM
CALERA, Ala. — An Alabama man charged with killing his wife, whose slaying last month unveiled her double life as an online exhibitionist, is accused of beating her to death with a bottle of absinthe, court records show.
The partially-clothed body of Kathleen Dawn “Kat” West, 42, of Calera, was discovered lying in the road in front of her home just after 5 a.m. on Jan. 18, Calera Police Chief Sean Lemley said in a Thursday news conference. She lived there with her husband, William Jeffrey West, and their 12-year-old daughter.
Jeff West, 44, was arrested Thursday and charged with murder. According to Shelby County Jail records, he was being held Friday in lieu of $500,000 bond.
The couple’s daughter was not home when her mother was killed.
Lemley said Thursday that Jeff West was the department’s chief suspect from the beginning of the investigation, though Kat West’s “online professional activities” warranted investigators’ attention.
He declined to specify what evidence pointed them toward her husband.
“Let me say this. We are still restricted, very restricted, on what information that can be given out,” Lemley said. “The case is still under investigation, even though we have made an arrest. But, the case has to go to trial as well.”
The West murder case has shone a national spotlight on small-town Calera, due mainly to the more salacious details of Kat West’s life. Though she described herself on social media as a full-time stay-at-home wife and mother, she operated a subscription-only adult website where she went by the name “Kitty Kat West.” The public page boasted a suggestive photo and promised users that, for a monthly $15.99 subscription fee, they could get more risqué material beyond the paywall.
Her Twitter account, also listed under her stage name, directs viewers to the paid adult website, as well. Kat West’s bio on the adult site, which was still live as of Friday, described the site, in part, as “hundreds of pics of ALL me, having some naughty fun.”
In the days immediately following the slaying, Kat West’s mother, Nancy Martin, wrote on Facebook that it seemed “impossible for the extreme sadness and grief we feel (over) the loss of our beautiful daughter, Kat, to ever diminish.” She described her daughter as a “cherished wife to Jeff” and a loving mother to their own young daughter.
A fundraiser in Kat West’s name was established, but quickly ended as the case became more public.
On Jan. 24, Martin changed her profile picture to one of her daughter and son-in-law. It remained there as of Friday afternoon.
See Calera Police Chief Sean Lemley’s news conference, recorded by WBRC in Birmingham, below.
Lemley said that investigators interviewed many witnesses in the case, as well as collecting a lot of evidence that needed to be processed. Four detectives were assigned to the case, two of them full-time.
“Evidence takes time to process,” the police chief said. “And we have to wait on that evidence to come in so we can connect all the dots.”
Detectives were awaiting analysis on a final piece of evidence from the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences. That final report was issued on Tuesday and, after a thorough review by the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office, a warrant was issued for Jeff West’s arrest, the chief said.
“We know exactly what happened, for the most part, on this case.” Lemley said. “I mean, we can’t tell you verbatim what was being said one way or the other, but we know what happened that night. We do have evidence to support that.”
The chief credited neighboring Shelby County law enforcement agencies, state agencies and the FBI with assisting in the investigation.
Lemley again declined to go into detail about the evidence, but Jeff West’s arrest warrant, obtained by AL.com, indicates that Kat West was killed with a bottle of Lucid Absinthe. An autopsy found that the victim died of blunt force trauma to the head.
The court documents state that, when a 19-year-old neighbor left for work Jan. 18, she found Kat West face-down on the ground in nothing but a sports bra, her body half in the roadway and half in the yard of the home across the street. A cellphone was found nearby, along with a green liquor bottle.
Lucid Absinthe is sold in green bottles.
TV news magazine Inside Edition on Jan. 25 aired surveillance footage from R&R Wine and Liquor, in Calera, that shows Kat West, just about eight hours before she was killed, walk into the liquor store with a man who appears to be her husband. In the video, the couple looks happy and playful.
“They came in (and) it looked like they were on their date night,” store clerk Stacey Oglesby told Inside Edition.
The couple bought two things that night: Lucid Absinthe and Jameson Irish Whiskey, Oglesby said.
Lemley said it was not completely clear what could have happened between the couple’s visit to the liquor store, when they appeared happy, and when Kat West was bludgeoned to death.
“It’s a domestic. Unfortunately, domestics turn bad pretty quickly,” Lemley said. “Anything can trigger it.”
Jeff West, a military veteran, works as an unsworn police officer at Birmingham Southern College, AL.com reported. Officials at the school said they are in the process of terminating his employment.
Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 4:51 AM
— A Texas couple is formally engaged after the bride-to-be’s engagement ring was lost in a luggage snafu for nearly three weeks, WFAA reported.
Ben Adams and his girlfriend Elizabeth Kahle landed at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport two-and-a-half weeks ago after a trip to Europe.
Adams hoped to propose to Kahle at her family’s home in Frisco, Texas. But the engagement ring was in one of his suitcases, and during a layover in Iceland all of their luggage was misplaced, WFAA reported.
The luggage was on Iceland-based WOW Airlines. When their flight to Dallas was canceled, Adams and Kahle were rerouted to New York and then Atlanta before finally reaching their destination.
Adams had to confess to Kahle that the engagement ring was in his luggage, WFAA reported.
“The stakes just went from here to here!” Kahle told the television station.
Adams eventually discovered that their luggage was sent to Boston. The bags were shipped home, and Adams made his formal marriage proposal Wednesday night, WFAA reported.
Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 11:10 PM
Updated: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 3:01 AM
PITTSBURGH — Hundreds of marchers took to the streets of Pittsburgh Thursday night, protesting the fatal police shooting of a teenager during a traffic stop Tuesday night.
Traffic was brought to a standstill as protesters spilled onto Pittsburgh’s Parkway East.
The protest was described by WPXI reporters on the scene as “tense,” but “peaceful so far.”
Marchers, holding signs and cell phones, sat down in the street, blocking traffic and causing a back up for miles.
Protesters were told to voluntarily disperse by 1 a.m. Friday. Pennsylvania State Police were able to clear all protesters by 2:45 a.m. At least one woman was arrested.
Residents were angry and upset over the fatal police shooting of unarmed 17-year-old Antwon Rose.
Allegheny County police officials said that Rose was a passenger in a vehicle stopped in East Pittsburgh around 8:20 p.m. Tuesday because it fit the description of a car seen fleeing the area of a shooting in the nearby borough of North Braddock. As an officer handcuffed the driver of the car, which investigators said had bullet damage to the back window, Rose and a second passenger got out of the car and ran.
Footage of the shooting posted on Facebook Tuesday shows the scene from a distance. The 18-second video shows Rose and the other passenger, who has not been found by police, get out of the car and make a break for the yard between two nearby houses.
Three shots are heard and one of the passengers appears to fall into the grass.
Rose, who police officials said was struck three times, was taken to McKeesport Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The Allegheny County medical examiner on Thursday ruled the teen’s death a homicide.
The East Pittsburgh police officer who shot and killed Rose was sworn in just hours before the fatal encounter.
Mayor Louis Payne told WPXI Wednesday that the unidentified officer who killed Rose previously spent seven years working in other departments, but confirmed that he was working his first shift following his official swearing in with the East Pittsburgh Police Department.
Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 8:59 AM
RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. — Time to get a new car!
A woman said she was driving when she felt something on her leg. And it wasn’t her imagination. The unidentified woman saw a six-foot-long snake slithering up her leg, WSPA reported.
A pest removal service in Rutherford County said that a customer of theirs had a box in her car that she was taking to the dump. The box had been sitting outside and the snake had crawled in. The Bug Man reminded people in its Facebook post about the incident, to always check boxes and planters before moving them. Snakes and other critters can make containers their home.
She called police for help and they got the serpent out of her vehicle using snake tongs, WSPA reported.
The stowaway’s story doesn’t end there. The snake actually got out of its container while police were relocating it, but eventually got out of the police car and made its way into a creek, WSPA reported.
Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 10:43 PM
BETHEL PARK, Pa. — A Pennsylvania teenager admits he’s lucky to be alive after getting sucked into a drainage pipe underneath a road south of Pittsburgh.
Ben Smith was helping clear debris from outside of neighbors’ houses during massive flooding Wednesday night.
"There was a quick moment when I thought I wouldn't get out. It felt like I was going down," Smith said. "We were trying to move a van away from it and clear some debris. I went to go after this wood panel and my foot slipped and I just went right under."
Neighbors tried to pull him out, but the floodwater was too strong and Smith was washed away.
He said his instincts and Eagle Scout training kicked in.
"It teaches you to be prepared for any sort of circumstance that comes your way," Smith said. "I knew going against the water would not work at all. So I just tucked in and hoped I could end up somewhere."
Smith estimates he was trapped in the pipe for about a minute before washing out in a small creek on the other side of the road.
He escaped with no broken bones and no major injuries, which shocked his friends and neighbors.