911 calls released of Isle of Wight double murder as a family mourns

ISLE OF WIGHT, Va. (WAVY) – 10 On Your Side now has the narrative on what happened when an Isle of Wight County mother and son were shot to death in their home, one week ago today.

We now know how they were awakened in the middle of the night to the front door kicked open, a gun drawn, then shots fired.

The criminal complaint details the horror that visited the home of Nancy and Kenneth Starnes. It notes how detectives closed in on suspects Kareem Mitchell and Richard Holmes, how they found Kareem hiding in a closet under a pile of clothes along with the victim’s laptop, how they found a bag full of ammunition, how outside the closet was the victim’s 32-inch TV, how they found Mitchell’s hidden .40 cal. semi-automatic handgun and ammunition.

Document: Criminal Complaint

Kareem Mitchell admits to pulling the trigger. We confronted him Thursday on his way to court, “I’ll regret this the rest of my life.”

Here’s what Mitchell regrets according to the Criminal Complaint:

He admits to kicking in Nancy and Kenneth Starnes front door early Friday morning. He admits he went to Kenneth’s bedroom, saw him reach for something and shot him, he then shot him again. Mitchell admits he hears Kenneth’s mother Nancy calling out, he went to her room which was dark and he says he ‘snapped and fired once’ then fired again killing her.

We asked him Thursday is there anything he wants to say to the family, “I am terribly sorry.”

Mitchell admits to driving Kenneth’s F-150 pickup back to this home where he was staying with Richard Holmes who says he didn’t shoot anyone, but admits he was in the house. That is according to the Criminal Complaint signed by Lt. Tommy Potter with the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office.

Search Warrants Executed at Suspects’ Home

In the report investigators are fairly confident Holmes drove Nancy’s Chrysler Van back to the house. The complaint notes a third person may be involved, but that was never mentioned in previous narratives.

Kareem Jamar Mitchell, left, and Richard Alexander Holmes. Credit: Isle of Wight Sheriff’s Office.s on what happened. The mention of that was apparently recanted by one of the suspects according to Lt. Potter, “We are still investigating whether that is true.”

There is no mention on who drove Nancy Starnes van back to Mitchell’s house. The van was found in Portsmouth Friday in a location near where Holmes’ mother once lived.

“I got that vibe, that gut feeling that something is not right,” says Paul Starnes, Nancy’s grandson.

It was Paul doing a wellness check on Nancy and Kenneth that first figured out something was wrong at the house.

“I knocked on the front door, and I tried the door, and you couldn’t get in, but once I went in the back door, and got into the kitchen I could see the front door, and I could see the trim all messed up, so I knew the door had been kicked in. That is when I said something’s bad here, I left, and I called 9-1-1,” Starnes says.

This was the 911 call Paul made on Saturday morning. Sheriff’s office officials also released the call from the night of the incident on Friday.

PAUL: “The dog is in there and he’s barking. I feel like, I got a vibe that someone is either dead in there, or laying down…and it smells funny in there.”

911 DISPATCHER: “It smells in there?”

PAUL: “Yes, it smells in there, and all the stuff all the cabinets are open, all the stuff has fallen, and this is a clean house…so something is definitely wrong.”

“Why would you do it? They couldn’t even defend themselves. You could have snatched their purse and ran. They couldn’t chase you, they couldn’t have done anything. I don’t know why they would do something like that,” Starnes says.

Who were Nancy and Kenneth Starnes?
Kenneth and Nancy Starnes (Photo courtesy: Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office)

“She was a very sweet lady. She cared for the grand-kids and the family. She would call all the time checking on us,” Paul says about his grandmother.” She was loving, and when we were little she would keep us during the summer and we would go out to the zoo.”

When Nancy’s husband died, Paul says her son Kenneth moved in to take care of her. He wasn’t married, so all the kids in the family became like his and Nancy’s.

“He was like a dad to me more than an uncle. We went hunting, fishing, he also cared for my dad,” Paul says.

Paul showed us a picture, “that’s my oldest son Jordan. He is 9-years-old, and of course that’s Kenneth (standing next to Jordan) and that was the last deer he killed.” They are pictures of an American family now dealing with unspeakable loss.

A family will bury their own on Monday, finances will keep a granddaughter on the west coast from attending.

“They have no money, and I have no money, and the family doesn’t have any money to fly them back for the viewing Sunday and funeral Monday,” Paul says. “I love them, I miss them, I wish I had been there to protect them. We all would have been there.”

The Starnes are hoping for a miracle that the California family can make the trip for the services.