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Law & Justice

Man Behind 2018 Boise Mass Stabbing Sentenced To 2 Lifetimes In Prison

Timmy Kinner Sentencing Boise Stabbing
James Dawson
/
Boise State Public Radio
Timmy Earl Kinner, left, speaking to one of his defense attorneys during his sentencing hearing June 10, 2021.

Timmy Earl Kinner, the man who pleaded guilty to slashing his way through a child’s birthday party in 2018 and killing a 3-year-old girl in the process, will serve two life sentences without the possibility of parole.

Kinner will also serve another 120 years in prison consecutively. A hearing to settle a proposed $328,000 in restitution will be held in August.

He pleaded guilty to 11 total charges, including first-degree murder, aggravated battery and aggravated assault in March.

Five children and three adults – all of them refugees – also suffered injuries, including some that were life-threatening at the time, during the attack that swept through a northwest Boise apartment complex.

Previously homeless, Kinner bounced around from his hometown of Memphis, to Los Angeles and Utah before landing in Idaho. He had been staying with someone at the complex temporarily before he was kicked out the morning of the attack.

Ada County Prosecutor Jan Bennett’s office originally sought the death penalty in the case, but dropped its push due to Kinner’s plea agreement.

He had originally been found mentally unfit to stand trial until the fall of 2019.

Bifituu Kadir, the mother of 3-year-old Ruya Kadir who was killed during the attack, broke down crying as she gave testimony.

Dressed in a black jacket and a pink, orange and white head wrap, Kadir had seen Kinner sitting outside on that warm June evening in 2018.

“I had no idea that this individual was planning to kill my daughter,” she said through an interpreter. “I passed by him hugging my daughter at the time. I wish he had killed me instead.”

Timmy Kinner sentencing Boise stabbing
James Dawson
Timmy Earl Kinner at his sentencing hearing June 10, 2020.

Since her daughter’s death, Kadir said she used to visit her grave every day at 5 a.m. to tell Ruya good morning and returned at 8 p.m. to tell her good night.

“Half my heart is there,” she said.

Kinner, dressed in a white polo shirt, glasses and wearing a rosary around his neck, looked at Kadir through most of her testimony while writing on a piece of paper with his hands restrained.

“You have taken my life from me. I cannot sleep. You are always in my life. You are everywhere,” Kadir told him. “I really hate myself because I let you harm my daughter and I really hate my color because I look like you.”

Kinner is Black and Kadir is Ethiopian.

She said she planned to outlive him. “And when that time comes, I will go to your grave and spit on it.”

After several victims gave their statements, prosecutors began outlining details of what they called his “stabbing rampage.”

Shortly after they described Kinner picking up Ruya, stabbing her in the heart and throwing her down, Kadir threw a metal water bottle across the room at him. Guards quickly ushered Kinner through a side door while others restrained Kadir -- who repeatedly screamed her daughter’s name -- and ushered her out of the courtroom.

Ruya Kadir memorial Boise stabbing
James Dawson
Photos of Ruya Kadir, the 3-year-old murdered in a 2018 stabbing spree in Boise, at a memorial service.

She and Ruya’s father Recep Seran were then required by Judge Nancy Baskin to watch proceedings remotely. Other victims and their families joined them.

When asked if he was hurt during the outburst, Kinner said, “Thankfully, no.”

He later gave a lengthy statement apologizing to the victims.

“I didn’t have any plans to throw my life away and I definitely didn’t have any plans to hurt these people,” Kinner said. “I hate that I took their baby away from them.”

Previously during the hearing, Juliet Yackel, an investigator for the defense, outlined Kinner’s significant mental health issues. He had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia throughout his life and grew up in a tough neighborhood in Memphis.

Kinner’s parents, Yackel said, were addicted to crack, his father was rarely around, and that his upbringing was abusive.

Kinner told his victims he hopes they understand he was having a mental breakdown and that he did not intend to attack anyone that night.

“That’s the only way they’re going to be able to grow up and enjoy their lives,” Kinner said.

Earlier in the hearing, parents of several victims said their children live in fear after the attack. They said the kids refuse to play outside anymore, with one child opening cabinets and closet doors in rooms to ensure no one is hiding in them.

Ruya memorial 1.jpg
James Dawson
Pink flowers, one of Ruya Kadir's favorite colors, still mark the canal near the entrance to the apartment complex where she was murdered nearly three years ago. Timmy Kinner will spend the rest of his life in prison for her killing and severely injuring many others during a stabbing spree in 2018.

One father said he has significant issues with high blood pressure, regularly going to the emergency room for treatment. Doctors there tell him there’s nothing they can physically do since his health problems stem from anxiety.

The grisly mass stabbing on June 30, 2018 carved lasting memories of one of Boise’s most gruesome crime scenes into the minds of those who were touched by it – even those who didn’t witness it firsthand.

“People were scattered across the apartment complex, both within apartments themselves, lying in the street and in the walkways,” said former Boise Police Chief Bill Bones at a news conference the day following the attack.

Firefighters sprayed off bloodstains from the parking lot the morning after the attack as well-wishers – dropped off flowers, posters and cards at a makeshift vigil on the bridge over the canal where police said Kinner had thrown the knife used in the attack.

Hundreds of community members a week later celebrated the short life of Ruya, the three-year-old who was murdered at her own birthday party. Her first name means “dream” in Turkish.

“She was my everything,” her mother, Bifituu, said through a family friend during her memorial service. “She was my world and if no one stopped me I could talk forever about my Ruya.”

Ruya Kadir memorial 2 twitter.jpg
James Dawson
A small playground and garden were set up in Ruya Kadir's memory after she was murdered at an apartment complex on Wylie Lane in Boise nearly three years ago. Timmy Kinner was sentences to two life sentences and 120 additional years of prison time Thursday June 10, 2021.

“Ruya was our gift from God, but God wanted Ruya with him,” Seran, her father, said at the time.

Thousands had gathered a few days earlier in front of Boise City Hall in the sweltering heat to stand with the city’s refugee community.

A garden and a small play area for children at the apartment complex were eventually put together to honor Ruya’s memory.

A civil lawsuit filed by Kadir’s parents against Kinner, as well as her neighbors and companies affiliated with the apartment complex where the attack happened is still ongoing. It had been on hold pending the end of Kinner’s criminal case.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

Copyright 2021 Boise State Public Radio

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