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Two Tales of Success and Murder

By William Vogeler, Esq. | Last updated on

The path to murder starts with a wrong turn, a twist in one life that ends another.

Far too many people follow it -- even successful people like lawyers and law students. Kenneil Cole, a young legal assistant, went down that path.

He was upward bound when he took that fateful turn. It happened somewhere between the first and eleventh time he pulled the trigger on his roommate.

'How Life Works'

Until that moment, Cole was on a fast-track to success. He went from detention in high school to a stand-out intern at the Attorney General's Office in Washington D.C.

"It's funny how life works," he said at a gala after winning an office award. "At one point, I was prosecuted as a juvenile from the office of the attorney general, and now I work with him."

But then Cole got into an argument with his roommate one day over rent. He said Keon Wallace tried to shoot him, but he wrestled the gun away and shot him in self-defense.

Magistrate Judge Erroll Arthur didn't believe it. "This man was shot behind the ear, and in the back," he said at the arraignment. "This is not self-defense, this is murder."

Turned Life Around

Wallace had turned his life around, too. A week before his death, he was a top candidate for a position as a community ambassador in a work-readiness program for unemployed youths.

That path ended in a bedroom, where police found him curled up with multiple bullet wounds in his body. He had been shot twice in the head, once in the back and once behind the ear.

Cole is being held without bail pending trial. If convicted, he will join other ex-legal professionals in prison.

Donnie Rudd, for example, was recently convicted of murdering his wife. Prosecutors said he tried to cover it up in a staged car accident.

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