Army Soldier Kevin Spann Fatally Shot by Two Teenagers at Front Door of Georgia Home; Wife Gina Spann Pleaded Guilty to Avoid the Death Penalty, Sentenced to Life in Prison (May 11, 1997)

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Kevin Spann, US Army

Army SSG Kevin Spann married Gina Lynn Pierce in 1989 and became a step-father to her son. They met in Gina’s hometown in Illinois and moved to Fort Worth, Texas in 1990. About a year after they were married, Kevin was deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation Desert Storm. Gina couldn’t handle being alone so she went back to her hometown in Illinois. After Kevin returned home from Kuwait, he went to Illinois to see if Gina would go to Fort Gordon, Georgia with him. Gina agreed and things were going well until Kevin had to start working long hours. Kevin suggested she get a job to help occupy her time. It would be at this job where Gina would meet three teenagers who quickly became her friends despite the age difference.

Gina became popular with the teenagers when they learned that she could buy them alcohol. They all started partying together at hotels after work and eventually Gina started sleeping with one of them. After awhile Gina just moved the parties to her marital home. Kevin would come home from work and find drunk, passed out kids all over his house. Gina also did not hide the fact that she was sleeping with one of the teens, Larry Kelley. She did not care how Kevin Spann felt about the arrangement. One day, Larry’s step father kicked him out of the house. Because Larry didn’t know where else to turn, he turned to Gina who agreed to let him move in with them. Not only did he move into the house but he moved into the marital bedroom with Gina and Kevin moved out. Kevin slept in another room in the same house.

In the spring of 1997, Kevin had finally had enough and asked Gina for a divorce. But Gina begged Kevin to make the marriage work and she promised him she would change. She knew that if Kevin divorced her she would end up with nothing. Kevin loved her and wanted to make the marriage work so he agreed to try again but he insisted that Larry get out of his house in one week. It would be days later that Gina found her front door open and Kevin lying on the floor in a pool of blood. SSG Kevin Spann was shot twice and killed at his doorstep on Mother’s Day, May 11, 1997. He was shot once in the head and once in the chest, torso area. When the killers left, he was still alive. Kevin bled to death.

Gina and Larry Kelley provided each other with alibis when investigators questioned their whereabouts. Although Larry also told police that he was Gina’s live in boyfriend which peaked investigators interest and made the couple prime suspects. They hauled both Gina and Kevin down to the station. Gina adamantly denied any involvement in the shooting. Larry on the other hand told investigators everything. He told them that Gina asked him to find someone to shoot her husband so he did. He found Matthew Piazzi and Gerald Horne to do the job. Investigators would learn that Gina devised a plan and told the teenagers what to do. After Gina and Larry left the residence, Matthew and Gerald were to knock on the door, wait for Kevin to answer, shoot him, and then get rid of the gun. Matthew was the gunman.

Investigators searched Gina’s car and found a $300,000 life insurance policy for Kevin Spann which gave them the evidence they needed to charge Gina with murder. Gina Spann and Larry Kelley conspired to murder Kevin and were both sentenced to life without parole. Gina finally admitted her role in the murder after learning that Larry Kelley was facing the death sentence. She agreed to tell investigators what her role was in the murder if they took the death penalty off the table for both of them. Gina Spann plead guilty to first degree murder and Larry Kelley was convicted of first degree murder. Matthew Piazzi and Gerald Horne both plead guilty to first degree murder and were sentenced to life in prison. Christopher Bargeron pled guilty to conspiracy and was sentenced to 5 years in prison.

Investigation Discovery:

ID Go: Kevin and Gina Spann know that life in the military is anything but easy. But when Kevin goes away, Gina plays. Adam Kostewicz and Grace Pianka are trying to live the American dream. But when that dream turns into a nightmare, someone ends up dead. -Special Delivery, Deadly Affairs (S2, E9)

ID Go: Some women can’t resist boy toys. But fur flies when these Deadly Women reveal they’re “Killer Cougars.” -Killer Cougars, Deadly Women (S10, E1)

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch all of the Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. Download the ID Go app and binge away. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $2.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict.

Related Links:
Augusta slaying
Three others say wife tried to hire them to kill Fort Gordon soldier
Kelley found guilty of murder
Spann gets life sentence
Teenage boys recruited by wife to kill Fort Gordon soldier
Serviceman Killed By Wife; Her Son Receives Insurance Payout
United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit (1999)
Kelly v The State of Georgia (2000)
First parole board member declines parole for convicted murderer
The Mother’s Day Murder
Murderpedia: Gina Lynn Spann
Special Delivery | Deadly Affairs | Investigation Discovery (S2, E9)
Special Delivery | Deadly Affairs | Investigation Discovery (Amazon Video)
Killer Cougars | Deadly Women | Investigation Discovery (S10, E1)
Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance is a Common Motive for Murder

‘A Clue From the Grave’ by Irene Pence Unveils the Investigation of Air Force MSgt William Lipscomb Convicted of Raping and Murdering Estranged Wife Kathleen (May 1, 1997)

image1-4‘A Clue from the Grave’ by Irene Pence is a fascinating look into the investigation of US Air Force wife Kathleen Lipscomb’s murder in San Antonio, Texas in 1986. Her husband MSgt William Lipscomb, who was stationed at Lackland Air Force Base as a Military Training Instructor, would eventually be accused of her murder and stand trial at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia in 1989. This book shows the difficulties the detectives face when it comes to investigating crimes perpetrated by a transient military member.

If not for the persistence of Kathleen’s mom Nadine and her sister Darlene, Bill Lipscomb almost got away with murder. Kathleen’s family did not want to believe that Kathleen’s estranged husband committed this crime but nonetheless wanted to find out who killed Kathleen. Kathleen was found battered and nude on the side of the road outside the city limits of San Antonio. It appeared that she had been raped and murdered elsewhere and her body was dumped at this location. As a result, the Bexar County Sheriff’s Department had jurisdiction of the investigation of Kathleen’s murder. The book revealed that Air Force leadership was not aware that Bill Lipscomb was even considered a suspect by the local Sheriff’s Department. In the meantime, Bill Lipscomb requested a humanitarian transfer to Langley Air Force Base, Virginia so that he would be near his parents who would help him care for Kathleen and Bill’s two children.

After the investigation stalled at the Sheriff’s Department and it looked like no one would be held accountable for Kathleen’s death, Nadine and Darlene decided to hire two private investigators to find out who killed Kathleen. The private investigators carefully went through the list of suspects to rule people out but they could not rule out Bill Lipscomb after what they discovered. These investigators learned that Bill had plenty of motive to kill Kathleen including the fact that Kathleen threatened to turn Bill and his Air Force colleagues in to Air Force leadership for their role in a WAPS test promotion cheating scandal. Bill also wanted custody of the two children so Kathleen used her knowledge of this cheating scandal as leverage in the divorce proceedings so she could keep custody of the two children. In addition, Bill Lipscomb had over $300,000 worth of life insurance on Kathleen, one policy was purchased after Kathleen decided to divorce him. Coincidentally, Kathleen was murdered just days before the final divorce proceedings. Nadine and Darlene began suspecting Bill more and more as time went on because of statements made by Bill and Kathleen’s children and the controlling behavior he exhibited after Kathleen died.

It would be the private investigators that Kathleen’s family hired who convinced the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) to get involved. Bill was no longer in the San Antonio area so no one but the AFOSI had jurisdiction over him. The crime was committed in Texas yet Bill had been conveniently transferred to Virginia. Thanks to the thorough work by the two private investigators, the AFOSI had probable cause to investigate Bill Lipscomb. The AFOSI used both their knowledge of the WAPS test cheating scandal and what they learned from the private investigators to begin their own investigations. They would learn from others involved in the cheating scandal that Bill did in fact cheat on his promotion testing which is how he was able to achieve the rank of MSgt so soon. They would also learn from Kathleen’s date book that she was fully aware of the cheating scandal and knew that Bill was having an affair with another Air Force member he worked with. It would be this date book that gave the investigators involved in the case a reason to suspect Bill Lipscomb of her murder. In the end this information would become ‘A Clue from the Grave’ that helped Kathleen solve her own murder.

Learn more: Air Force MSgt William Lipscomb Murdered his Wife Kathleen Lipscomb After She Threatened to Expose his WAPS Promotion Cheating Scam (1986)