Suspect indicted for 2016 murder of AT&T worker

Posted at 7:21 AM, Jan 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-14 16:52:37-04

The man arrested for the 2016 murder of an AT&T employee in Waco has been indicted. 

28-year-old Zachery Lamone McKee, of Waco, was indicted causing the death of Kenneth Cleveland by stabbing, and/or cutting, and/or beating, and/or setting him on fire.

In January, a warrant was issued for the McKee. 

"McKee is in custody elsewhere and is expected to be brought back to Waco in the next few days," Sgt. Patrick Swanton said when the warrant was issued. 

In April 2016, officers found Cleveland near a ladder in the 1400 block of Barron Ave. He was in the area working on a routine service call for AT&T. 

Neighbors said they called police after seeing smoke coming from the alley. 

Initially, police said it was possible Cleveland was electrocuted, but months later an autopsy revealed his body had 13 stab wounds, severe blunt force trauma and several chop wounds to his head. 

Medical examiners said most of Cleveland's body was burned after he died. 

Sgt. Patrick Swanton with Waco police said that McKee had been a person of interest in the case early on. 

According to the arrest warrant, McKee confessed to killing Cleveland and had provided details that only someone close to the case would know. 

The family released a statement Tuesday afternoon: 

The Cleveland family is relieved and appreciative that the efforts of the Waco Police Department and other law enforcement agencies has led to the arrest of the person they believe responsible for our father’s death.  We remain aggrieved, nonetheless, that out father’s death could have been prevented had his long-time employer, AT&T taken the simple, straightforward steps, that it knew could deter and prevent such tragedy. 

In July 2017, the family of Cleveland filed a lawsuit against AT&T in a Dallas County district court.

Cleveland's mother, Zelle, and his daughters, Andrea Christian and Amber Hicks, are listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit. 

According to the lawsuit, the family is seeking more than $1 million in damages. The lawsuit claims AT&T "failed to provide adequate protection or emergency response assistance."

In June 2016, the company announced they are offering a $60,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for Cleveland's death. 

"We're hoping that by offering this reward, that someone will come forward. That somebody on the morning of April 22 was in that area, saw something, knows something, possibly anything that would lead to finding out who did this tragedy," AT&T's External Affair Regional Director Debbie Keel said.

The company released a statement Tuesday evening: 

We are very thankful to hear this news. Ken was a dedicated employee for over four decades, and was widely admired by his co-workers. His senseless, tragic death was deeply felt here at AT&T, and we continue to offer our deepest condolences to his family, friends and co-workers.

The safety and welfare of our employees is of paramount concern to us. We have been committed to this investigation and we offered a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

McKee was booked into the McLennan County Jail Tuesday on a $500,000 bond. 

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