Life in prison for man who stabbed wife, struck Douglas deputy with car

A man who stabbed his estranged wife in front of their kids and then struck a Douglas County deputy with a patrol vehicle while fleeing was sentenced to life in prison Friday, officials said.

Kilpatrick Key, 42, entered a negotiated guilty plea to charges of attempted murder, home invasion, aggravated stalking, aggravated assault, first-degree cruelty to children, aggravated assault on a peace officer, aggravated battery and fleeing police. The Douglasville man was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole, with his charges running concurrently instead of consecutively to his life sentence, Coweta Judicial Circuit District Attorney Herb Cranford said.

The September 2020 attack left the man’s spouse with “severe and permanent physical injuries” and their children with “severe emotional trauma,” according to Cranford. The deputy who responded to the assault suffered a broken rib and bruising to his abdomen.

Key, who served in the U.S. Army Reserve’s 3rd Medical Command out of Forest Park, wasn’t supposed to be at the victim’s home located along Lake Field Drive in the Stewart’s Mill subdivision. He had previously been served with a temporary restraining order to stay away from the residence and those who lived there, but Cranford said he violated that order.

Authorities said Key broke into the home around 7:30 a.m. and threatened to kill his wife and their three children, who were minors and present to witness the attack.

“Fortunately, one of the children was able to call law enforcement, who responded to the scene,” Cranford said.

A Douglas sheriff’s office deputy could hear the victim screaming for help through the locked front door, so he kicked it open, officials said. But Key immediately fled and managed to steal the deputy’s vehicle that was in the driveway.

The deputy ran after Key and fired two shots, which Cranford said struck the windshield of the patrol vehicle but did not injure the suspect. Key then hit the deputy with the vehicle as he sped away.

A high-speed chase ensued as other deputies followed Key. He eventually lost control of the vehicle and crashed nearby. He attempted to run away but was apprehended soon after.

The GBI investigated the incident, which was classified as an officer-involved shooting. The District Attorney’s Office, following a review of the GBI investigative file, concluded that the deputy “was justified in using deadly force to both prevent serious injury to himself and to apprehend Key.”

During a recent plea hearing, Cranford said members of the Key family were present in court and supported the resolution of the case. The deputy who was injured, and other members of the Douglas sheriff’s office, also attended and supported the plea and sentencing.

“While the law requires that Key be eligible for parole in 30 years, it is my hope for the sake of his victims, particularly his family, that he never be released from prison,” Cranford said.