Suspect Held in Manors Slaying a Petty Criminal with Long Record

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Breaking News Update, 11:30 am, Thursday, 30 December 2010

'Today is the first day of the rest of my life and I am going to make it count.' The suspect, listed by Florida Department of Corrections, as Peter Avsenen, was released from prison just before July 1, 2010. On that day he posted on his Facebook page, under the name of Peter Avsenew,, ‘Today is the first day of the rest of my life and I am going to make it count.’ The 2003 graduate of Charles Flanagan High School in Hollywood, Florida, was looking forward to seeing his baby son, and he remarked also a week before that “I am free and coming home yea. Robbie daddy loves you and I am going to prove it to everyone.”

Wilton Manors Police Department detectives have taken into custody the person they believe is responsible for the murders of Kevin Mark Powell and Steve Adams, the gay couple whose bodies were found on Sunday in their rented home at 2513 NE 8th Avenue.

The suspect is Peter Serge Avsenew, 26, of Hollywood, a probation violator with multiple aliases who was arrested without incident on Tuesday night at 8:30 p.m. in the small town of Dundee in Polk County, Florida. Even though the police thought they had their man last night, the public information office of the Wilton Manors police department did not issue a statement and reveal his identity until late this afternoon.

Avsenew was arrested at a residence in the 100 block of West Main Street, in Dundee, where a joint task force of WMPD detectives, FDLE special agents and Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to the scene. Authorities conducting the investigation had apparently developed information that Avsenew was a suspect, had left the South Florida area and travelled to Dundee, Florida. The missing Saturn Vue belonging to suspect Steve Adams was recovered in Polk County.

Because Avsenew had a felony warrant out for his arrest for violating probation on a Grand Theft case out of Monroe County from years ago, he was taken into custody with a no bond hold.  His aliases include : Peter Serge Avensen, Peter S. Avensew, Peter Avsenen, Peter S. Avsenen, Peter S, Avsenew, Peter Avsenen, Peter McCartney, Peter Allen McCartney.

Avsenew’s checkered criminal history includes convictions for vehicle theft, robbery, grand theft and engaging in fraud through bounced checks in multiple jurisdictions. He has also pled no contest to marijuana possession, loitering, possession of drug paraphernalia, criminal mischief and resisting an officer without violence. At least one of the cases is open, allowing the police to hold him on an outstanding charge while investigating the murders of the Wilton Manors gay couple.

Having just arrived from Savannah, Georgia, Kevin Powell’s brother, Shannon Kicklighter, told SFGN that he felt “some closure” with the arrest but “there is still much I do not know. The police have not said much.” Kicklighter is referring to the fact that law enforcement was transparently closed-mouthed about the manner of the killings, whether the victims were either shot, stabbed, or how the murders occurred. It is a law enforcement strategy employed to prevent false confessions or worthless leads from sending them on unnecessary wild goose chases.

The terrible irony of Powell’s murder is that he was a lifelong diabetic who had just survived double organ transplant surgery. His partner, Steve Adams, who had worked as a nurse at Jackson Memorial was caring for him. “Steve and Kevin had been together for years and years, and they took care of each other. They were loving partners,” Kicklighter stated.

Adding “We were an extended family.” Kicklighter is now employed in Savannah as a store manager for Route 21. Years ago, when he lived in Fort Lauderdale, he himself worked at the Pride Factory.

Shannon Kicklighter drove down to South Florida today with his own domestic partner, Chris. “We are both heartbroken,” he said.

Kicklighter related how Powell’s illness inspired him to fulfill a lifelong desire and track down his biological family. “He did so successfully, and that is how we met.” Powell’s adoptive mother, Vicki Thompson, resides in Somerset, Kentucky; his biological mom, Jean Kicklighter, in Georgia.

As reported in earlier stories, Powell and Adams were found slain in their home, in the 2500 block of Northeast Eighth Avenue, at 1:30 a.m. Sunday. Wilton Manors police went to their house after receiving an emergency call from Adams' sister, who worried when her brother didn't come to her home for the holidays.

The primary suspect in the double homicide, Peter Serge Avsenew, is currently being held at Polk County Jail without bond.  Charges are pending.

More details as they develop.


Suspect Held in Slayings of Two Wilton Manors Men

Gay Couple Are Murder Victims in Manors Double Homicide