On Thursday July 7, 2011, 37-year-old Brad Richard Ballantyne pled guilty to Murder in connection with the 1993 death of Kimberly Jean Dunkin. Ballantyne was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
On Friday, January 1, 1993, at 10:30 a.m., 30-year-old Kimberly Jean Dunkin, was found shot to death inside the driver's seat of her blue 1973 Chevrolet Camaro parked in front of 4927 Northeast Skidmore Street. An autopsy determined that Miss Dunkin died from a gunshot wound to her head.
Kimberly Dunkin reportedly attended a New Year's Eve party alone at a residence near the intersection of Northeast Sandy Boulevard and Northeast 77th.Avenue. Investigators believe she left the party sometime in the early morning hours of January 1, 1993. Dunkin may have stopped at a neighborhood convenience store after leaving the party.
A witness saw Dunkin's car parked in front of 4927 Northeast Skidmore Street at 6:00 a.m. At the time the witness saw the car, he noticed a person slumped over in the driver's seat, but thought the person was asleep. At 10:30 am, the same witness walked by the car to check on the person and observed Miss Dunkin's body. Homicide Detectives believe Dunkin had been dead since at least 6:00 a.m.
Cold Case Homicide Detectives began examining this case in 2008. Kimberly Dunkin's unsolved homicide was featured in a set of playing cards that are distributed throughout correctional facilities in Oregon. A tip directly related to the playing cards was given to detectives that ultimately helped lead to the arrest of Brad Ballantyne in July 2010.
The partnership between the Portland Police Bureau's Cold Case Homicide Unit and the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office, specifically lead prosecutors Gary Meabe and Jim Hayden, was instrumental to the success obtained in this case.
Kimberly Dunkin's sister, Karin Dunkin, regularly contacted members of the Cold Case Homicide Unit and members of the Portland media over the past several years. The family never gave up hope. Their tenacity was also critical to the successful resolution of Kimberly's case.
As a part of the plea negotiation, the family had the opportunity to confront Kimberly's killer Brad Ballantyne privately in a jury room on the 5th Floor of the Multnomah County Courthouse. The family handled this encounter with such passion, restraint, grace, and class, that Sergeant Paul Weatheroy, the supervisor of the Cold Case Homicide Unit, said, "I have never seen anything like this in my 25 year law enforcement career."
The Cold Case Unit is comprised of a Sergeant, four Detectives who are assisted by several retired investigators who volunteer their time and are now working under a Federal grant sponsored by the US Department of Justice and the National Institute for Justice. This grant pays retired investigators to review cold homicide cases.
In May 2009, Crime Stoppers and local law enforcement agencies announced the release of decks of playing cards featuring homicide cases that have gone cold. Featured on each card is a different homicide cold case from the Portland Police Bureau and Sheriff's Offices from Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas and Clark Counties. Modeled after similar programs in Florida and Los Angeles, the decks of playing cards purchased by Crime Stoppers are sold in all State and Federal correctional facilities in Oregon as well as county jails in Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, and Clark Counties.