Decades later, killer claims self-defense

IONIA, Mich. (via WOOD TV 8) — Twenty-seven years into a life sentence for premeditated murder, Ronald Redick has suggested a new version of events surrounding the death of his business partner.

Redick, 81, went in front of the Michigan Parole Board Thursday morning as part of the process of asking the governor to commute his sentence and set him free. He called the hearing a "privilege."

When asked why he believes he's ready for parole, he responded, "I have remorse for my actions and am ready to live a life that is morally sound and just with God."

Redick's murder trial still holds the record as the longest in Ottawa County history. It lasted nearly 10 weeks. He killed Kenneth Kunkel, his soon-departing business partner at KR Corporation in Spring Lake, on Feb. 4, 1991. Then he put Kunkel's body in the car and staged a crash 20 miles away.

At Thursday's hearing in Ionia, Redick said that for nearly 20 of his 27 years locked up, he told no one that he had killed Kunkel. He stuck to the story of a fatal crash.

But Thursday, more than an hour into the nearly three-hour hearing, Redick said he killed his business partner in self-defense. It was shocking for the parole panel as it was the first time Redick had put forth that claim.

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