STATEMENT FROM CHIEF MIKE CANTALOUPE ON KIRKMAN VERDICT
(COCOA, FL)—Today, justice prevailed nearly 10 years after the homicide of a young Bahamian woman who was savagely buried alive in 2006; her body was not found until four years after the crime. A 12-member jury rendered Vahteice Kirkman, 37, guilty of the murder of Darice Knowles, 22. A second suspect, Christopher Pratt, 37 is currently serving ten years in prison for his role in the murder. Pratt plead guilty in exchange for his testimony which was used to help convict Kirkman.
At least a dozen agencies assisted us in this investigation. We are very pleased with the outcome of the trial. We are thankful to State Attorney Phil Archer and his prosecution team, William Respess and Greg Konieczka.
This case affected all of us at the Cocoa Police Department and the many partner agencies that handled the investigation. For the family, it will never come close to healing the hurt of losing their loved one in such a violent manner, but it is the start of closure that may bring them peace. The Knowles family will continue to be in our thoughts and prayers.
Cocoa Police investigators will be testifying in the penalty phase of the trial which begins Monday. Prosecutors are pursuing the death penalty in the case.