Last modified on July 3, 2022, at 11:03

Graydon K. Kitchens, Jr.

Graydon Kelly Kitchens, Jr.​

Minden City Judge
In office
June 1976​ – 1978​
Preceded by John W. "Jack" Montgomery
Succeeded by Richard Harmon Drew, Sr.​

Judge of the Louisiana 26th Judicial District Court​ for Bossier and Webster parishes
In office
1979​ – 1996​
Preceded by Enos McClendon
Succeeded by Ford E. Stinson, Jr.

Chief Judge of the 26th Judicial District Court​
In office
1988​ – 1995​

Born July 19, 1936​
Minden, Louisiana, USA​
Died June 12, 2022 (aged 85)​
Resting place ​Minden City Cemetery
Political party Democrat / later Republican
Spouse(s) Roberta Mae Carroll Kitchens
(married 1960-2022, his death)
Children Graydon Kitchens, III

Amy Lynn Butler
Allison Lee Coppel

Residence Minden, Louisiana​
Alma mater Minden High School

Louisiana State University
​ LSU Law Center

Occupation Attorney
Religion Southern Baptist

Military Service
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1958-1960
Rank Lieutenant in the Infantry

Graydon Kelly Kitchens, Jr. (July 19, 1936 – June 12, 2022), was an attorney and a city, ward, and state court judge in his native Minden, Louisiana.​


Graydon, Jr., graduated in 1954 from Minden High School. Like his father, he attended LSU, from which he received his undergraduate degree in 1958 in French.[1] At LSU, he was a member of the Louisiana Law Review and the Order of the Coif. From 1958 to 1960, he was a lieutenant in the United States Army infantry. After he obtained his Juris Doctorate from LSU in 1964, he entered with his father into the Kitchens Law Firm in Minden. Thereafter, his brother, Paul Edward Kitchens (born December 11, 1945), joined the firm, as did Graydon "Gray" Kitchens, III (born April 1965), who resides in Bossier City.[2]

Kitchens' lawyer-father, Graydon Kitchens, Sr. (January 28, 1903 – September 12, 1988),[3] was born in Stamps in Lafayette County in southwestern Arkansas and reared in Trout to the west of Jena in La Salle Parish in North Louisiana. Kitchens, Sr., was married to the former Glennie Mae Prothro (1905-1997); the couple is interred at Minden Cemetery.[4] The father of Graydon Kitchens, Sr., was the superintendent of shipping at a sawmill. Kitchens, Sr. attended Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, at which he was a roommate of Robert F. Kennon of Minden, who in 1952 was elected governor of Louisiana. The two were assigned by alphabetical order to the same dormitory room. After college, Kitchens, Sr., taught school for a year in Summerfield in northeastern Claiborne Parish. "I loved teaching - had to tear myself away from the classroom when I decided to enter law school," he said in a 1976 interview with his hometown newspaper, The Minden Press-Herald, on the occasion of Kitchens' fifty years as a practicing attorney.[4]

The senior Kitchens graduated from the LSU Law Center in 1926. He then joined his friend Robert Kennon, at the time the mayor of Minden for a two-year term, in the Kennon & Kitchens law practice. From 1930 to 1941, Kennon was the district attorney of the 26th Judicial District. Kitchens was Kennon's assistant DA. Like Kennon, Kitchens was a Democrat. He became the acting DA from 1941 to 1942, after Kennon unseated Judge Harmon Caldwell Drew for a seat on the Louisiana Second Circuit Court of Appeal, based in Shreveport. Kitchens was defeated for a full term as DA by Arthur M. Wallace[3] and did not thereafter seek public office. However, the senior Kitchens remained a powerful figure in his adopted community.

In 1954, Governor Kennon named the senior Kitchens to the Louisiana Tax Commission, a position which he held for twenty-seven months that required considerable commuting from Minden to Baton Rouge. Kennon's successor as governor, Earl Kemp Long, however, convinced the state legislature to remove Kitchens from the panel so that Long could make his own appointment. Three years remained in Kitchens' appointment when he was removed.

Judicial life

In 1976, Kitchens, Jr., was elected to succeed Judge Cecil C. Lowe in the Minden city and Ward I court upon Lowe's election to the 26th Judicial District Court. Minden attorney John W. "Jack" Montgomery, a former member of the Louisiana State Senate, held the post temporarily prior to Kitchens' election. Kitchens defeated another attorney, his fellow Democrat, Henry Grady Hobbs, 2,740 to 2,237.[5] A widely known community figure who ran unsuccessfully for numerous positions, Hobbs (1923-2012) was the long-term appointed president of the Webster Parish Library Board.[6]

After two years on the city court, the junior Kitchens was elected to the 26th Judicial District Court to succeed Enos McClendon, who retired after eighteen years on the bench. Kitchens served three six-year terms on the court until his retirement in 1996. He was chief judge of the 26th District from 1988 through 1995. The Louisiana Bar Foundation in 1995 named him "Jurist of the Year". He served on the Louisiana Judiciary Commission from 1988 to 1992 and again from 1994 to 1996; he was the commission chairman from 1991 to 1992.[2]

In 1986, Kitchens was the presiding judge of the 26th Judicial District Court in State of Louisiana v. James M. Monds, referring to James Marvin Monds (born December 1963) of Keithville in Caddo Parish. At the time, Monds, a surgical technician at Barksdale Air Force Base]was convicted of the murder the preceding summer of Vicki Thomas, who was raped, assaulted, mutilated, and killed at the parking lot of Parkway High School in Bossier City. Monds became the key suspect when his vehicle, a Ford Bronco, was identified as the one at the scene of the murder. Monds testified that he had never met Thomas and had no knowledge of her death but had cut his hand while working on a flat tire the night of the crime. The Louisiana Supreme Court] which heard the case after the Shreveport-based Second Circuit Court of Appeals recused itself, ruled in 1994 that insufficient evidence, much of it circumstantial, existed to continue to incarcerate Monds. He was therefore declared "acquitted" and released after having served nearly nine years in prison.[7]

John Milkovich, elected in 2015 as the District 36 member of the Louisiana State Senate, was Monds' attorney. He accused both then DA Henry Newton Brown and the presiding judge in the case, Kitchens, Jr., of serious legal errors in the case. Milkovich accused Judge Kitchens of trying to block testimony which would have cleared Monds, and he accused Brown and Monds' former wife, Shea, of plotting the killing of Thomas.[8] The charge against Brown was quickly repudiated by James Bullers, who succeeded Brown as district attorney of Bossier and Webster parishes. In a rebuke of Milkovich, Bullers said, "The theory was and is so ridiculous that it's almost unbelievable. I personally believe that Milkovich is totally obsessed with Henry Brown. I really don't know if he believes it himself."[9]

In 1996, Kitchens was named "Outstanding Jurist, along with Bruce Bolin and the then Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court, Pascal F. Calogero, Jr. (1931-2018).[10] He retired at the end of 1996 to engage in a law practice with his brother and son.[11] Former Webster Parish Sheriff Ted Riser called Kitchens "one of the finest and fairest judges that we've had. I know that he certainly will be missed by law enforcement officers in this area."[12]

After retirement, Kitchens returned to his law practice, which specializes in estate planning, family law, personal injury, wills and probates, and real estate.[2] He is also an assistant district attorney for the Bossier-Webster district and in that capacity attends most meetings of the Webster Parish Police Jury.[13] Kitchens is a former member of the Webster Parish Democratic Executive Committee.[14] However, the office of then Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler listed Kitchens and his brother and son as Republicans.​[15]

One of Kitchens' law partners has been the Republican U.S. Representative James Michael Johnson of Louisiana's 4th congressional district, who has held the seat since January 3, 2017.​

In 2014, then Mayor Tommy Davis of Minden declared "Judge Kitchens Day" to honor the retired judge on the occasion of his fiftieth year as a practicing lawyer.[16] Judge Kitchens' father had received the same honor in 1976.​

Personal life

Graydon Kitchens, Jr., was at times affiliated with Lions International, the Jaycees, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Boy Scouts.[14] He is married to the former Roberta Carroll (born April 1938), originally from Baton Rouge and regionally known as a gospel singer. In 1981, Mrs. Kitchens, who was involved in the writing of some fifty songs and in the production of four television specials, was named "Minden Woman of the Year".[17]

The Kitchenses' son, Graydon, III, is married to the former Kimberly Bennett (born March 1967). The Kitchenses' older daughter, Amy Lynn Kitchens Butler (born April 1968), is married to James Bryan Butler (born October 1967); they reside in Bossier City. The Kitchenses' younger daughter, Allison Lee Copple (born May 1970), is the wife of Eric Blaine Copple (born July 1972); they reside in Shreveport. Graydon and Roberta Kitchens have long been active in the First Baptist Church of Minden. Kitchens was also involved with the Baptist Student Union while at LSU.[14]

According to his obituary, "he w​as a good and faithful servant, discipling countless people and praying faithfully for his family, friends, and co-workers, as well as for those who entered his courtroom during his decades on the bench." He served on the board of trustees for the publication, The Baptist Message from 1981 to 1987, and was a member of the board of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary from 1982 to 1992. He was known as an excellent story-teller.[18]

In 2003, Judge Kitchens, representing the Minden Family Forum, led the unsuccessful opposition to a referendum to permit the sale of alcoholic beverages in Minden restaurants. The community had been previously dry for many decades.[13]

Judge Kitchens died at the age of eighty-five one day after observing his 62nd anniversary of marriage with Roberta.[18]


  1. Graydon K. Kitchens Jr.. Retrieved on November 27, 2013.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Graydon K. Kitchens Jr., attorney. Retrieved on November 27, 2013.
  3. Graydon K. Kitchens, Sr.. Retrieved on March 22, 2019.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Kerry B. Garland, "Fifty Years for Colonel Kitchens", Minden Press-Herald, September 10, 1976, p. 1.
  5. "Kitchens defeats Hobbs for judge post here," Minden Press-Herald, June 7, 1976, p. 1.
  6. Henry Hobbs obituary. The Shreveport Times (January 2, 2013). Retrieved on January 3, 2013.
  7. State of Louisiana v. James M. Monds. Retrieved on June 6, 2017.
  8. Danny Anderson, "Lawyer: Death No Puzzle," Minden Press-Herald, May 5, 1994, pp. 1-2.
  9. Pat Culverhouse, "Bullers rejects theory: nothing new," Minden Press-Herald, May 6, 1994, p. 1.
  10. Allen J. M. Smith, "Kitchens is Outstanding Jurist'", Minden Press-Herald, March 8, 1996, p. 1.
  11. "Kitchens to retire", Minden Press-Herald, July 1, 1996, p. 1.
  12. Minden Press-Herald, December 11, 1996, p. 9.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Mr. Graydon K. Kitchens Jr., managing partner. Retrieved on November 27, 2013.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Minden Press-Herald, May 27, 1976, p. 5.
  15. Louisiana Secretary of State,
  16. Minden Press-Herald, March 20, 2014, p. 1.
  17. Margie Dale, "Roberta Kitchens Is Woman of Year," Minden Press-Herald, February 12, 1981, p. 1.
  18. 18.0 18.1 Obituary of Graydon Kelly Kitchens, Jr.. the Shreveport Times (June 13, 2022). Retrieved on June 14, 2022.