Old Time Crime: Man kills family of five after child custody fight in 2002

MESA, AZ - In December 2002, a man killed five family members in Mesa after a child custody dispute.

"Call the police, Call the police"

It was December 10, 2002, when Kemp Horton went to a neighbor's home, bleeding and out of breath. He banged on the door saying "Call the police, call the police."

Maricopa County Sheriff's Office deputies responded to the home on a county island near Mesa. There they found five people murdered from multiple gunshot wounds. The deceased included Horton's wife, 3-year-old son and family members belonging to his wife.

His wife was still holding her 3-year-old son

Investigators would later say, "all of the victims were shot numerous times at close range." His wife was still holding her 3-year-old son in her arms.

In reviewing court records at the time, a history of domestic violence, an order of protection against Horton, allegations of child abuse and a court battle over child custody were found.

The close-knit family put out restraining orders against Horton

Surviving family members would later tell the court how afraid they were of Horton, who had been arrested before for aggravated assault.

The close-knit family put out restraining orders against Horton, helped the sister with court costs and one of them armed themselves for protection.

When deputies contacted Horton, he had blood on his shirt, pants, hands, and feet. He was also found with gunshot residue on his hands.

Other than saying, "She's shot, she's shot," he refused to talk about what happened inside the home. He initially claimed self-defense, blaming his brother-in-law for the killings.

In 2006 he accepted a plea agreement, pleading guilty to all five counts of first-degree murder in exchange for a life sentence.

He remains in a Florence prison today.

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