FOX13 INVESTIGATES: Was an accused murderer named Principal for a Day?

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Did a man charged with murder serve as “Principal for a Day” at a Memphis middle school?

In 2020, Kevin McKinney was accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend Keierra McNeil and their unborn baby in a Cordova parking lot.

Police search for suspect after woman shot and killed outside Cordova Walgreens

McNeil’s family told FOX13 Investigates that McKinney was given the title “Principal for the Day” at White Station Middle School this week.

It shocked the family, and they were baffled this could have happened.

The family wants to know how the school district allowed a suspected murderer to be around children.

“That was my best friend, my co-worker, my cousin,” McNeil’s cousin Ashley Hester said. “She was everything to me, and I have to live with that every day.”

It’s been nearly two years since 32-year-old McNeil, who was pregnant at the time, was gunned down in a Walgreen’s parking lot in Cordova.

Police charged Kevin McKinney, McNeil’s ex-boyfriend and the baby’s father, with two counts of murder.

He was allowed to bond out of jail while awaiting trial.

Family remembers pregnant woman and unborn baby murdered at a Cordova Walgreens

Earlier this week, McNeil’s family told FOX13 Investigates that McKinney was apparently served an honorary position by a Memphis-Shelby County School.

“He’s a suspected murderer. He’s out on bond. The case was not dismissed. It’s still very much open,” Hester said.

Hester said her family was sent a post on Instagram that appeared to show McKinney with White Station Middle School’s principal.

McKinney was holding a certificate.

The photo’s caption read, “Big thanks to Memphis Shelby County Schools for inviting me to be ‘a principal for a day.’ It was truly awesome!”

When FOX13 went to the page, the post was not there. But the page was for Slim’s Way Construction, and it included photos of a man who appears to be McKinney.

FOX13 Investigates also found a video on the page from February that was also on YouTube this week. Part of the caption says it’s with “Kevin ‘Slim’ McKinney.’”

“It’s very confusing to us that he would be allowed to be around children, in schools, speaking publicly to kids,” said Hester.

FOX13 reached out to school board members and the school district.

A spokeswoman told us “Principal of the Day” is an annual, district-wide event where community members can sign up to shadow a school principal.

The spokeswoman could not confirm whether McKinney was at the event on Wednesday, but she told said volunteers are screened for criminal convictions. Because McKinney has not yet gone to trial, he would not have shown up in their system.

MSCS released this full statement on the situation:

Memphis-Shelby County Schools sent FOX13 News this statement on the situation:

Principal for a Day participants are considered Level 1 volunteers in which the Memphis-Shelby County Schools safety system (background check) searches names against criminal convictions and the national Sex Offender Registry.

To clarify, MSCS Principal for a Day participants were given a plaque as a token of appreciation. The participants were not honored with an award.

The safety of our students and staff remains our top priority.

Additional Context:

MSCS Principal for a Day is an annual event that allows community members and stakeholders to shadow a school principal. Volunteers and participants are directly monitored and supervised by school personnel at all times.

Hester wants her cousin to be remembered as the bubbly, fun-loving woman she was and a woman who was preparing to be a mother.

“My cousin and her baby are no longer here. They can’t defend themselves, so we have to defend them. We have to speak up for them,” she said.

McKinney is facing two counts of first-degree murder

Court records show he bonded out of jail in November 2020.

McNeil’s family told FOX13 that McKinney’s next court date hasn’t been set.