Police: Capital murder suspect admits to robbery plan

Megan Kinberger
Megan Kinberger
Jeremy Radau
Jeremy Radau
Charles Pickell
Charles Pickell

By Danielle Thomas – bio | email

BILOX, MS (WLOX) - Two people accused of killing a Biloxi man were in court during two separate preliminary hearings Thursday. A judge ruled there is enough evidence against Megan Kinberger, 19, and Jeremy Radau, 27, to send their capital murder cases to a grand jury.

The decision came after a Biloxi detective testified Kinberger admitted to police that the couple had planned a robbery.

During the hearings, prosecutors laid out their evidence against Kinberger and Radau. Detective Michael Brown testified Charles Pickell, 74, died from a blow to the head.

A tearful Kinberger sat quietly listening to Brown describe the first time police interviewed her and her boyfriend about the murder.

"We spoke to Megan and Jeremy," Brown said. "Both adamantly denied any knowledge of what we were talking about. Advised they were never in that area. They did not know Mr. Pickell."

However, detectives had surveillance video taken by Pickell's neighbor showing the couple at the victim's apartment the morning of the murder. Police say they also found a bat with blood on it in Radau's car. The detective testified DNA tests confirmed that blood matched the victim.

A few days after the murder, police obtained search warrants to get DNA swabs from Kinberger and Radau. Police say they went to the Harrison County Jail where the pair was questioned about a commercial burglary in Gulfport that occurred shortly before Pickell's death. This time Kinberger changed her story and said she did know Pickell.

"She wanted to talk to us again. That she was not going to go down for, or take the wrap for something she didn't do. She needed to talk to us about it. She needed to get back home to her two-month-old baby," Brown said.

Police said Kinberger admitted going to Pickell's apartment to rob the 74-year-old and that Radau was to do it while she went to the bathroom. She told police what she saw when she came out.

"Mr. Pickell was slumped over in the recliner, bleeding from the head. She said also that Jeremy had cash in hand," Brown testified. "She said she started freaking out and crying saying, 'We need to call the police. We need to call an ambulance.'  Things like that."

Brown continued, "I asked her specifically, 'Was Mr. Pickell alive at that time?' Could she tell? She said, 'He was alive, moving and making weird noises.'"

The detective testified that Kinberger told him that she and Radau left Mr. Pickell bleeding without calling for help, then went to pick up her baby from the sitter.

Harrison County prosecutors said Radau was out on bond for a violent felony charge at the time of the murder. Last year, he was arrested and charged with aggravated assault in a stabbing.

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