Where is Ricky Kyle now? His secretive life after prison

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One night in mid-July 1983, Ricky Kyle woke his father, Henry Harrison Kyle Sr., to tell him there was a prowler in their house. Armed, Harrison and his oldest son headed downstairs in search of the intruder. The sequence of events in the mansion’s dining room remains unclear, but two things are certain: Ricky fatally shot his father, and Kyle Sr. shot Ricky in the arm. 

Police initially believed Ricky’s assertion that an intruder killed his father and that he’d gotten injured in the crossfire. However, following his arrest five weeks later, Kyle admitted to killing Kyle Sr. 

Ricky Kyle adopted a secretive lifestyle after release from prison

Ricky Kyle was initially charged with the murder of Kyle Sr. During grand jury proceedings, his half-sister’s fiance testified that Ricky had confessed to the murder. “Ricky said that, ‘I have to tell both of you: I shot him,” Henry Miller, Jackie Lynn Phillips’ fiance, said. “He just said that – he just confessed that he shot him.

Ricky allegedly explained that he waited for Kyle to drop his guard before shooting at him twice – the first bullet hit him, but the second missed. The younger Kyle said that Kyle Sr. got off several shots as he fell to the ground, one of which injured Ricky in the elbow. 

“We have a very substantial case,” prosecutor Lewis Watnick said. “We have some compelling evidence that the defendant did kill his father.”

Despite the confidence, the jury disagreed on a murder conviction. Kyle stood trial again on an involuntary manslaughter charge, and this time, the jury convicted him. Judge Robert Altman rejected pleas from Ricky’s attorney for probation without prison time, sentencing Kyle Jr. to five years in prison. 

“The court feels he was putting on a show for the jury,” Judge Altman said. “It’s the court’s belief the defendant hated Henry Kyle… His actions were cruel, deceitful and remorseless.”

The judge said he considered the jurors’ wishes for leniency and imposed less than the six-year sentence Kyle could have received. Stephen Sumner, Kyle’s attorney, said the judge somewhat set aside the verdict because he disagreed with it. During the sentencing trial, Ricky expressed an intention to rejoin society:

“I feel that the circumstances in this situation would never happen again. I feel I would be a productive member of society. I want to go back to school, get a job and have some peace in my life again.”

Kyle served half of his five-year sentence before his release. At the time of his incarceration, Ricky had one son, Justin, with his wife, Kelly. 

Ricky adopted a secretive lifestyle after his release from prison. Kyle Sr. left the bulk of his $100 million estate to Ricky and his brother Scott. Ricky’s involuntary murder conviction couldn’t preclude him from inheriting. 

Kyle testified that his father was abusive towards his children

On the outside, Henry Kyle Sr. was a remarkable success story. He grew up in abject poverty before building his fortune through business dealings in the real estate, farming, mining, and banking sectors. His distinguished service as a Marine Corps fighter pilot endeared him to the people. 

However, behind the scenes, Kyle Sr. was abusive towards his children and wives. By the time the family relocated to Bel-Air, Kyle Sr. had divorced four times. Ricky said his father became increasingly harsh during his stay at the newly-acquired mansion in Los Angeles. 

Kyle Jr. said that Kyle Sr. struck him after arriving home early and finding the younger Kyle hadn’t completed his chores. Ricky testified that Kyle Sr. threatened to kill him during the altercation. 

According to Ricky, Kyle Sr. suddenly opened fire on him as they searched for the prowler. Ricky said he shot back in self-defense, killing his father. “I just jumped and I shot, and then I tried to get away from him,” Ricky said

Prosecutors painted a different picture, saying Ricky killed his father in cold blood because he feared Kyle Sr. would cut him out of his will. They noted that Kyle Jr. had a history of theft, drug use, and lying. 

Deputy Attorney Lewis Watnick was particularly critical of Ricky, calling him a ‘chronic, habitual and probably pathological liar.’ The abuse claims likely helped Kyle Jr. in the first trial: after more than a month of deliberations, the jury was deadlocked 10-2 for conviction, prompting the judge to declare a mistrial. 

“We’re elated that the state failed to convince these jurors that Ricky Kyle committed a crime,” Jack Pate, Kyle’s attorney, said. However, Ricky’s reprieve didn’t last long, as prosecutors placed him on trial for involuntary manslaughter. 

The jury found him guilty but recommended leniency from the judge. Judge Robert Altman didn’t hide his contempt for Kyle’s in-court tactics, saying: “This court did not find the defendant in any way a credible witness in the course of this trial,” Altman said

Judge Altman sentenced Kyle to three years for involuntary manslaughter and two years for using a gun in the commission of a crime.