On the outside, Kimball has an assignment from the FBI: Keep an eye on Jennifer Marcum
By John Aguilar
Camera Staff Writer
Jennifer Marcum felt like she was being watched.
Talking to her mother, Mary Willis, on the phone, Jennifer sounded afraid and said her phone was tapped. She talked about breaking up with her boyfriend, Steve Ennis, an accused drug dealer serving time at the FCI-Englewood federal prison.
In her last conversation with Ennis, on Feb. 17, 2003, the 25-year-old exotic dancer seemed hesitant and a little nervous. She told him over the phone that she’d be leaving for a few days.
She was going to Seattle with his former cellmate, Scott Kimball, who claimed he owned a coffee-cart business there. He would teach Jennifer how to manage the business — a job opportunity that could help the single mother get away from stripping at Shotgun Willie’s.
“You OK?” Ennis asked.
“You all ready to go?”
“Are you? Cool. Are you excited?”
“No, not really.”
“I don’t know.”
“You should be, you’ll have a nice time. … You taking a cab out to the airport?”
“Um, I’m not sure yet. I think I’m taking my car.”
“You’re gonna have fun up there. … What’s wrong?”
“I’ll see you next Thursday, huh?”
Scott Kimball met Steve Ennis after landing in FCI-Englewood following a series of check-fraud and forgery convictions in the Pacific Northwest.
Already a four-time felon, 36-year-old Kimball had been in and out of the can plenty but had always been given another chance.
Now, he faced several years behind bars.
His latest arrest, for passing thousands of dollars’ worth of bogus checks in Alaska, could trigger at least 15 years’ worth of suspended prison sentences.
To get out this time, he’d have to be creative.
Kimball told the FBI that Ennis, accused of running a massive Ecstasy distribution network, had asked him to kill a fellow drug dealer who might testify against Ennis. Ennis, Kimball said, told him his girlfriend — a hard-bodied Shotgun Willie’s stripper — would help carry out the hit.
Kimball had already been a source on two murder-for-hire plots — on an assistant U.S. district attorney shot to death in his Seattle home and on an alleged hit against a federal judge and prosecutor in Alaska. The FBI decided he was trustworthy enough to gather information outside prison walls.
Kimball was released Dec. 18, 2002, “to actively cooperate with the FBI on the Steven Ennis matter,” according to an agency affidavit. He was given the name Joe Scott and told to keep an eye on Jennifer Marcum.
January and February 2003
Kimball wasted no time.
He met with Jennifer a dozen times and spoke with her on the phone daily during the first six weeks of the year. She was staying in Colorado Springs with the father of her 5-year-old son, and longing to get off the stripper pole.
Kimball used his considerable charm to convince her he could get her into a legitimate enterprise selling coffee from espresso carts. The money would be good, with the potential to earn a few thousand dollars a day.
Ennis told his girlfriend she should trust Kimball and try a career change.
She moved all of her furniture from the Springs to Kimball’s condo in Lakewood on Feb. 16, two days before their planned trip to Seattle.
Meanwhile, Kimball wore a wire for the FBI trying to elicit information on the supposed hit. In a conversation caught on tape, Jennifer didn’t solicit Kimball to kill anyone, but she did describe one member of Ennis’ drug ring as a “scumbag” who “deserves to die.”
In interviews with investigators years later, Ennis denied ever asking Kimball or Jennifer to kill anyone.
March 10, 2003
Out of prison, Kimball wasn’t exactly home free.
The theft and fraud charges in Alaska hadn’t been dropped and still could put him back in the pen for years.
Interested in his continued cooperation, federal prosecutors offered Kimball a plea agreement. If he pleaded guilty to two counts of counterfeiting a check and continued working as an informant, they would recommend the lowest sentence.
Kimball saw the distinct possibility of spending no time behind bars on this one.
He signed the deal.
March 27, 2003
Jennifer Marcum’s green 1996 Saturn had been sitting in a Denver International Airport parking garage for 37 days when police impounded it.
Two certified letters concerning the abandoned car, sent to Jennifer’s previous address in Colorado Springs, went unanswered.
Her son’s father told investigators Jennifer hadn’t been by to see the boy since moving out Feb. 16.
FBI Special Agent Carle Schlaff was himself starting to wonder what had happened to Jennifer Marcum. Assigned to handle Kimball in his role as a paid informant keeping tabs on Jennifer, Schlaff hadn’t heard anything about her in weeks.
Now he wanted answers.