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Man accused of killing mother, stepfather speaks from jail

Keith Sylvester is charged with killing his mother and step-father in Atlanta, Georgia. All are originally from Buffalo. Sylvester spoke by phone from jail with reporter Claudine Ewing about his case.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — UPDATE:  On September 2, 2020, Fulton County District Attorney's office says charges have been dismissed against Keith Sylvester for the July, 2018 deaths of his parents in Atlanta, GA.

When Harry and Deborah Jenkins Hubbard relocated to Atlanta, Georgia, from Buffalo in 2018, no one thought their lives would end so tragically.

On July 3, 2018, their bodies were discovered inside their home after a fire and Debbie, according to police had a cord around her neck.

Debbie Hubbard's son Keith Sylvester, 47, is charged with murder, arson, aggravated assault, strangulation and insurance fraud. 

Sylvester spoke with WGRZ-TV reporter Claudine Ewing from the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta, where he is being held without bail.

Claudine: Did you kill your mother and step-father?

Keith Sylvester: Absolutely not, Claudine. I loved my mother very much and everyone in Buffalo knows that I tried to take care of both of them. I moved from Virginia to take care of them because my step-dad had had a stroke and a seizure and my mom had what I believe was a seizure. I moved back to Buffalo to take care of them. I am the only one who went to all of their doctors appointments all you have to do is go to the VA on Bailey Street. All of the doctors are familiar with me. I went to just about everyone of their appointments, no one else did, so all of these people in Buffalo can stop pretending.

Claudine: Some are saying they don't forgive you an they consider you a sick killer because they think that you in fact did it.

Keith Sylvester: Well, I didn't do it, and that's the honest to God truth.

Credit: Hubbard family

Sylvester says he was shocked when he was arrested.

"I had been working with the Atlanta Police lead investigator, James Barnett. I had been giving him as much information as possible to help him find out exactly what happened or to have possible leads. All I know is, is he called me on the 28 of December. I was at work, and he was telling me he wanted me to come in the next day for a final interview. He said it was the end of the year and he just wanted to recap or see if I had additional information. I said well if it's that important I can come in tonight, he said no, just come in tomorrow. So on that Saturday, I went into police headquarters about 5 o'clock when he asked, and basically he asked if I had any more information for him, and I told him I him I didn't know anything else, and then he said, 'That's unfortunate for you,' and then he charged me with their two murders."

Sylvester said the investigator has inconsistencies in his report pertaining to the day of the crime. According to Sylvester, at a preliminary hearing in January, the investigator said Sylvester pulled up the the home in his ice cream truck on Harvel Drive to check on his parents around 3 a.m., one hour before the murder and that the suspect never got out of the vehicle.

"If I never got out of the vehicle how could I have done this," Sylvester said.

Also at the hearing, he said it was stated that the items used as accelerants were moth balls and rubbing alcohol.

"I really believe the only reason I am in here (jail) is because only three people had keys to the house ... my mother, my step-dad and myself."

Sylvester said he didn't know his mother had another insurance policy that was solely in his name as the beneficiary.

"People have done those type of things for money. This is not something typically that I would have done, and I don't remember hearing many stories on any news networks about many black people doing that type of thing," he said.

Sylvester did not attend the double funeral for the couple in Buffalo. When asked why, he said, "I never wanted to leave (Atlanta) because my mother's remains were here in a refrigerator, in the medical examiners office, from July until last week."

A grand jury is expected to hear this case in March. 

Keith Sylvester maintains his innocence.

"I'm totally innocent," he wrote.

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