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The first time police confronted Kent with evidence about Bart, they both were still in the hospital. They asked Kent about the discrepancy between Bart's graduation claims and his college transcript. Kent says his first instinct was to not believe it. "I went down to his room ... and confronted him with it. He said that it had been the result of scheduling problems at work," Kent says. "He thought he'd be able to make up the deficit the next semester."

Kent says he was conflicted. He says he knew the police could be right, but he didn't want to abandon his son. "I thought, 'Well, I'll just work with both sides. I'll help Bart as he needs help, and I'll help the police. And if I hear something, then I'll tell them.' I kept my neutrality on it."

Even though Bart was considered a suspect early in the investigation, Kent lived with him for seven months—despite repeated warnings about his safety from the police—in the house where the shootings occurred. "I'd reached a zone when I got up to the front door where I was just numb and it was like I was a robot, and I passed by the spots [where Tricia and Kevin died]," he says. "People ask me how I could possibly live in that house. And while there was something very horrible that happened there, it was still my home and had been my home for 25 years. And there were a lot of great memories there, and it was still my house."

As the evidence against Bart grew, Kent says his opinion about his son's innocence changed. At the beginning, he says he thought there was a 5 percent chance police were right. Within four to five weeks, Kent says, he started thinking the chance that Bart was guilty was "about 50-50."

"But by the time that he actually ran, I was probably 80 percent believing that he was responsible," Kent says. "But I wasn't going to desert him anyway. He's my son."
FROM: Forgiving the Son Who Killed My Family
Published on October 06, 2008


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