Death Penalty Sought for Man Accused of Murdering Wife

TAMPA – According to Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office, prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for a man accused of brutally killing his wife in front of their three daughters in February.

K. Dukes, 48, did not have a criminal record before the morning of Feb. 12, when he allegedly stabbed and shot his wife, M. Dukes, 34, in front of their three daughters as they were waiting to be driven to school.

According to neighbors, the victim ran into the street with her three daughters trailing behind her. As the woman ran for her life, she bled out from an 8-inch cut sliced across her neck.

The neighbor who called the police said that he witnessed Dukes chasing his wife and daughters into a nearby house, then he heard gunshots. One of the daughters wrestled the gun out of her father’s hands and gave it to the neighbor, according to court documents.

When the police arrived at the scene, Dukes was found standing next to a neighbor’s dock, located along the nearby Alafia River.

He told deputies that his life was over, and that his wife tried to take the kids away from him.

The girls’ mother was transported to the hospital the day of the shooting, however, she succumbed to her injuries and died the following day.

Initially, K. Dukes was held without bail on second-degree murder charges, but prosecutors decided to upgrade his charges to first-degree murder. He is also facing two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and armed burglary with assault.

The prosecutors told the judge Monday morning that they were seeking the death penalty for the defendant. On Monday, March 9, Dukes pleaded not guilty. If he is convicted, at the minimum he faces a life sentence.

At this point, it is not clear as to why Dukes attacked his estranged wife, but his family said that she was seeking a divorce. The arrest report indicated that the couple had been separated for about a year.

Dukes’ family members described him as a veteran, and a loving father who was employed as a computer technician at Bloomberg.

Are you facing homicide charges in Tampa or anywhere else in Hillsborough County? Don’t hesitate to contact Thomas & Paulk to schedule a free case evaluation. We can be reached at (813) 321-7323.