Local Kansas judge says he was forced to resign after speaking out about his friendship with a kidnapping and murder suspect

 April 18, 2024

A local municipal judge in Kansas was reportedly forced to resign his position after he spoke out about a high-profile double-murder case and revealed that he was "good friends" and business partners with one of the suspects, according to NewsNation.

The now-former judge, Vincent Forbes, said local officials had demanded his resignation after he gave an interview to NewsNation in which he spoke of his multi-faceted relationship with Tad Cullum, one of four suspects arrested and charged for the alleged kidnapping and murders of Kansas women Veronica Butler and Jilian Kelley a few weeks ago.

Judge forced to resign after news interview

"I’m blown away that this even happened. Tad was a very good friend of mine. I’m not gonna say he was a very good friend of mine. He is a good friend of mine," Forbes told the outlet of Cullum's arrest last week, for which he was present during the law enforcement raid.

He went on to say that Cullum was "one of the nicest, funniest" guys he'd ever known, who didn't give off any "bad vibes," though he acknowledged that Cullum's partner and alleged accomplice, Tifany Adams, the grandmother of Butler's children, was "a little bit out of left field."

Adams and Cullum, who were arrested along with two other alleged accomplices, Cole and Cora Twombly, are said to be part of a religious anti-government cult known as "God's Misfits," and Forbes told NewsNation, "The way I understand it is they got God behind them, and they make their own laws. But now, again, that’s hearsay. I never knew about them."

The Mirror reported that Forbes told NewsNation, "Tad and I have been working together the last month in a business and I was down there when it was raided," and that, "I saw him on a daily basis this last month, we were working together. I couldn't even believe he was involved in it."

He also noted of Adams that while he had "known her for years" he also "didn't see her a lot," but again reiterated his disbelief that "they would do this kind of thing."

Investigation of alleged kidnapping and double-murder that stemmed from child custody dispute

USA Today reported that the suspected kidnapping and murder of Butler and Kelley on March 30 near the Kansas-Oklahoma border is believed to have been the tragic result of a years-long custody dispute between Adams and Butler, with Adams accusing Butler of allowing the children to be abused, which led to Butler only being able to see her two children during supervised visits.

Per a police affidavit, Butler and Kelley, a friend and court supervisor, traveled from their homes in Kansas to the Oklahoma panhandle to pick up the children for a birthday party, but were reported missing when they never arrived at the party. Butler's vehicle was later found abandoned and blood and other evidence at the scene prompted suspicions of foul play, and their bodies were later found in a nearby hastily dug and disguised grave.

An investigation by Oklahoma authorities, which included interviews with witnesses that included the teen daughter of the Twomblys, led to the four suspects being arrested and charged in the incident.

The investigation also revealed that the custody dispute, which had involved prior death threats against Butler, had been ongoing since 2019, though it is believed that Butler was about to be allowed to have unsupervised visitation with her children around the time of her disappearance and death.

Former judge shares his account of being forced to resign

As for the apparent forced resignation of former Judge Forbes, he shared his version of events in a separate interview with NewsNation this week in which he described being called to appear before his local city council and mayor following his first interview with the outlet.

"'We’ve had a lot of static about your interview. And we don’t like it,'" Forbes claimed he was told by the city council. "The mayor has absolute control over my job. I’m appointed, he could hire me or fire me. And I said, 'Well, just fire me.'"

"One of the councilmen popped up and said, 'Oh, you’re going to turn in your resignation.' Very nasty about it," he added. "I didn’t appreciate that. And I said, 'That’s not a problem. I’ll quit.'"


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