How Police Failures May Have Allowed A Cocaine Cowboy’s Suspected Killer To Strike Again

A man named Ken Bicking III got away with murdering a South Florida drug smuggler 33 years ago, the victims daughter told, because police botched the investigation and ignored an accomplice videotaped confession.

In the decades since, Bicking freely wandered the underworld fringes. He raped a woman hanging out laundry, was accused of sexually brutalizing his ex-wife with different objects, and was the triggerman in the contract assassination of a former NFL football player, according to authorities. Most of the charges didnt stick.

But it was the 1983 killing that should have stopped him before he had a chance to fatten his criminal resume, told Jessica Lauren, whose father, Eugene Hicks, 35, was the victim.

They knew all along that Ken Bicking killed my father and they did nothing, Lauren, 35, told The Huffington Post. Even when they are got a videotaped confession, they did nothing.

The police interrogation surfaced recently because Lauren, who was a toddler when her father was killed, began digging into the unsolved .

I dont agree with my daddies alleged criminal copes, she told. Its not how I was raised. He was my father and I love him no matter what. He didnt deserve what happened to him.

Lauren had trouble convincing police to release the file and ended up hiring a lawyer, Thomas Julin, whose threat to sue authorities in Broward County pried loose the video.

The 2004 record features a Hallandale Beach police detective questioning a human named George Williams.

As Williams tells the story, he drove Bicking to Hicks home on June 25, 1983, to collect money and cocaine. Bicking went into the house while Williams waited outside. Williams said he heard a gunshot, entered the house and comprehend Hicks wounded on the floor.

He was jerking, Williams told. I could see the body moving . … I told, Kenny, hes still alive.

Bicking told Williams his handgun had jammed. He grabbed a knife from the kitchen andstarted stabbing him a bunch of periods, Williams said.

Authorities noted in reports obtained by HuffPost that some details Williams dedicated about Hicks death hadnt been released to the media, bolstering the likelihood he was telling the truth.

Nonetheless, neither Bicking nor Williams was apprehended. The videotape sat collecting dust until Julin forced its release.

Ron Ishoy, a spokesman for the Broward State Attorneys Office, told HuffPost the video was never used to prosecute the assassination because it would have been inadmissible in court.

The detective indicated the videotaped statement by Williams to our prosecutors, who instantly determined that the statement would never be admissible in court because Williams is clearly told at several phases he is a witness , not a suspect, Ishoy said.

Bicking, according to police, ran alongside Hicks in the early 1980 s, during Miamis Cocaine Cowboys days. The streets were inundated with narcotics, dirty money and homicides a lawless backdrop for Hollywoods Scarface and other movies, and popular television demonstrates such as Miami Vice.

Lauren and Julin said they suspect authorities didnt put significant efforts into solving Hicks homicide because they were more interested in catching his business associates.

It seems this is one of those cases where once Hicks was killed, prosecutors guessed, Well thats delightful, Julin told. They might have been thinking that was an appropriate use of prosecutorial discretion Why are we going to garbage our time prosecuting someone who did us a favor? I can see how some of that guessing may have crept into their decision-making.

The Hallandale Police Department did not respond to requests for comment.

Courtesy Jessica Lauren
Jessica Lauren and her father, Eugene Hicks.

Assistant State Attorney Tom Coleman, in a December 2015 interoffice memo about Hicks case, wrote that Williams was the only living witness who could affiliation himself, or Bicking, to the crime scene.

Bickings ex-wife, Katy Keiser, said that she also had important knowledge about the killing and that she gave it to sleuths more than a decade ago.

Keiser told Bicking told me he killed Hicks. And he told her why money.

Hicks was no choirboy. In the late 70 s, hed been indicted in connection with a multimillion-dollar cocaine and marijuana-smuggling operation. Around the same period, he was questioned about the killing of Kenneth Matus, who was shot in Hicks home, with Hicks gun. Police suspected Hicks believed Matus was an informant. Hicks was never charged.

Hicks luck soon operated out. Authorities caught him on board a 57 -foot yacht loaded with eight tons of marijuana. He was convicted and was free awaiting sentencing in 1983.

By then, Hicks was co-owner of Signature Marine in Miami. The company built custom speedboats for wealthy clients, includingO.J. Simpson, the NFL legend who years later was named a suspect in his wifes homicide.

Courtesy Jessica Lauren
O.J. and Nicole Brown Simpson bought a barge from Eugene Hicks and his partner, Thomas Adams, who is pictured on the left.

The boat-building business was successful, but it took a reach in April 1983, when Hicks business partner, Thomas Adams, 47, was shot dead while driving on Interstate 95 in Broward County. Police suspected Adams had been financing a smuggling operation.

Two months later, Hicks was killed.

According to police reports, Hicks was shot once in the chest and was stabbed five times. There was no sign of forced entry, indicating he knew his killer. A bloody knife was found in the kitchen sink. The only thing missing, according to Hicks brother, was $50,000 in money a detail that police kept under wraps.

Bicking, according to the 2015 interoffice memo, fell under suspicion because of his association with criminal enterprises that Mr. Hicks was involved in. He also was may be in possession of a barge Hicks had reported stolen.

Questioned by police, Bicking, then 22, said the barge had been payment for a indebtednes. He suggested Hicks may have been killed because of his involvement in shady auto-theft bargains, according to a Hallandale police report.

Bicking was not arrested, but he was named a person of interest in the homicide.

A young Atlantic Beach woman knew nothing of Bicking when she stepped outside her home on April 22, 1992. She was hanging up laundry, police told, when a human rode up on a motorcycle and brandished a chrome-plated revolver. He forced her inside, covered her eyes with duct tape and raped her.

Call the police and Ill come back and kill you, the rapist threatened, according to what the woman told police.

The crime eventually demonstrated Bickings undoing.In 2011, authorities going through old rape files resubmitted DNA swabs for comparison to known offenders. Bicking, who by then had accumulated apprehends for burglaries and robberies, was a match. Authorities charged him witharmed sex battery, armed robbery and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Newspix via Getty Images
A February 1966 photo of Colin Ridgway proving Carlton coach Ron Barassi how to play football the American style in Melbourne, Victoria.

But back on May 13, 1993, Bicking was a free human. He surfaced 1,300 miles from the Hicks crime scene, in University Park, Texas. Former punter Colin Ridgway, 54, was entering his duplex when someone shot him eight periods with a small-caliber handgun.

Authorities theorized Ridgeway fell prey to a murder-for-hire scheme orchestrated by his widow, Joan Jackson. Attorneys said she wanted to collect a $500,000 life insurance policy that had been doubled months before the killing. Jackson, however, wasnt talking, and a Dallas County grand jury declined to indict her. The hitman, for the time being, was unidentified.

In 1994, Bicking popped up on police radar again, charged with stealing $30,000 worth of goods from a barge docked at a Florida yacht club. Police told Bicking was working with William Edwards Wells III afterward dubbed the Mayport Monster for killing five people and living with their bodies.

In 1996, Texas authorities thumbed Bicking in the killing of Ridgway.

It turned out that Bickings mothers were close friends with Jackson, and they acknowledged to investigators that their son was in Denison, Texas, when Ridgway was killed. Further, Bicking had deposited a large sum of cash in his bank account four days after Ridgways slaying.

Police strengthened their example with the help of Bickings ex-wife.

Jacksonville Sheriffs Office
A 2014 police mug shot of Kenneth Bicking III.