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Authorities: Man admits to killing Lee County boy

Posted October 17, 2008

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— A man charged with killing his father last weekend has admitted to taking part in the 2004 slaying of a Lee County boy, authorities said Friday.

Kevin Lance Key, 26, of 521 Key Road in Sanford, has been charged with murder, kidnapping, felony breaking and entering, felony larceny and felony possession of stolen goods in the robbery and beating death of 11-year-old Bradley Way.

Authorities said someone broke into Way's home on JJ Lane near the Lee-Moore county line on July 12, 2004, was surprised to find the fifth-grader inside and beat him to death. His body was found inside an abandoned mobile home nearby.

Victor Gamble's fingerprints were found inside the mobile home, and investigators said he stole jewelry from the home and pawned it.

Gamble pleaded guilty two years ago to murder, kidnapping and breaking and entering in the case to avoid facing the death penalty. He is serving a life sentence in prison at Scotland County Correctional Institution without the possibility of parole.

Gamble repeatedly implicated Key in the slaying, but Key, who lives about a quarter-mile from the Way family, denied any involvement. On Monday, while being questioned about his father's death, authorities said he finally admitted to taking part in Way's death.

"He did admit to being at the residence, and removing Mr. Way's body," said Capt. Jeff Johnson of the Lee County Sheriff's Office, "but he never admitted to the actual partaking of the homicide."

On Sunday night, deputies found Key's father, Eddie Leroy Key, 54, dead inside the family's Key Road home. He had been shot in the head.

Kevin Key called 911 to report that his father had committed suicide and later told investigators that his father had put a rifle to his head and that he was unable to stop him from pulling the trigger.

When investigators pointed out that the evidence didn't match Kevin Key's story, he admitted his had killed his father in retaliation for years of abuse, authorities said.

Investigators declined to say why Kevin Key wasn't charged earlier in Way's death, saying only that they recently began taking another look at his possible role in the case.

"He always remained a suspect in the Bradley Way homicide," Johnson said.

Way's father, Chris Way, said Key's arrest is "like everything is starting over again." He said the evidence pointed to Gamble, and he said he's not upset that it's taken four years for a second arrest.

Gamble's attorney, Jonathan Silverman, said the charges against Key have no effect on his client. Silverman said Gamble never claimed he was innocent, but always blamed Key for killing Way.

"He always said Key did it," Silverman said.

Johnson said Key said Gamble killed the boy.

Under state law, both men can be charged with first-degree murder, regardless of who actually committed the crime, because Way was killed during the course of another felony – breaking and entering.

"Both are equally culpable," Silverman said.

44 Comments

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  • TeresaBee Oct 17, 2008

    Seems like the acorn didn't fall far from the tree.

  • 1Moms_View Oct 17, 2008

    I"m sorry that Bradley's family has to relive this tragedy once again. Both of the men should be put to death. Tax dollars shouldn't be used to support, feed, house, cloth, or provide medical care for them for the next 30 years while we pay for all the attorneys to appeal their cases either. Just find Key guilty of both murders and execute him.

  • Adelinthe Oct 17, 2008

    That boy must have been so afraid to hear him breaking in and must've suffered so being beaten to death.

    This guy is an animal and does not deserve to even breath the same air as decent people. Reinstate the death penalty and put this animal first in line.

    Praying for the souls of those he killed and for God to comfort their true loved ones.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • Tarheel born Oct 17, 2008

    Ditto Tax Man......very, very soon!!!

  • Tax Man Oct 17, 2008

    Execution is needed here - I just wonder how many other people this man has killed? Try him, convict him, execute him. Please! He has given up all claim to be a citizen of this world. He needs to die and very soon.

  • another opinion Oct 17, 2008

    enoughsenough I was referring to the criminal element, the child did not deserve to die. All I'm sayinf is locking these two up and all the others and then footing the bill for them is rediculous. We need to change the penalties for the crimes and maybe others will think twice before they commit their crimes.
    y sister was murdered a yr ago by one of these types and if he gets the death penalty, the way our system works now he probably won't be put to death for at least 7 yrs if then. So now I have to pay to keep him alive? Take his arm and brand him a killer and let him survive on his own. No help from anyone.

  • aquamama Oct 17, 2008

    "So... basically you're like John Kerry... a flip flopper..."

    LOL! No, I've never switched positions, once I decided where I stood. While I associate myself MOSTLY with the left, I am independent, politically speaking. Yes, all my totally liberal friends hate it, but I like to determine my own political views instead of having the one political party do it for me.

  • doubleplayno6 Oct 17, 2008

    Victor Gamble was charged with murder, he told them he didn't do it, but he couldn't proove otherwise to he plead guilty so he wouldn't get the death penalty. According to Gamble, he was guilty of not stopping Key from killing Bradly Way.

    I don't know if the case was exactly closed but I do know someone said it was "re-opened" this weekend when Key was arrested for killing his father.

    It was confirmed to me, by someone who knew the family well, that key was abused by his father his whole life. The whole family was mean.

    I just feel for the Way family. No parent should ever have to go thru what they did. My prayers go out to them.

  • rafiki Oct 17, 2008

    Am confused about this story. Is Victor charged with death or larceny? Sounds like Kevin was the killer and Victor with larceny and in which case Kevin should go for death penalty while Victor is properly given a fair sentence.

  • Coach K is GREAT Oct 17, 2008

    In defense of "libs," not all of us are against the death penalty. The problem with categorizing someone as either left or right ignores the fact that most people are somewhere in the middle. While I am generally way left on certain subjects like health care and social programs, I hover near the middle on others, like this one. So while I'd proudly call myself a liberal, I wouldn't feel so bad if this guy got the death penalty. Just pointing that out.
    aquamama
    GOLO member since July 3, 2007
    October 17, 2008 11:16 a.m.

    So... basically you're like John Kerry... a flip flopper...

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