Travis Forbes, the man convicted of murdering 19-year old Kenia Monge in 2005, has been released from prison and into the care of his mother after serving 10 years behind bars. But while Kenia’s family says they are happy to finally see justice served, they don’t know whether to trust Forbes or not. We worry about his intentions and we want him to stay far away from us and our families, explains Kenia’s father, Arturo Monge. What can we do though?
Two and a half years ago, Travis Forbes was convicted of the murder of 16-year-old Kenia Monge in Philadelphia. He was sentenced to life without parole and has been waiting ever since for an appeal hearing. But what is the status of his case today? Does he have a lawyer? Is he still in jail? The answer to that question depends on who you ask.
His sister says that he’s living in solitary confinement at Curran Fromhold Correctional Facility (CFCF) on the outskirts of Philly. Meanwhile, Sheriff Jewell Williams from CFCF says that Forbes lives in general population at CFCF with other inmates. The only way we can be sure about this is if someone checks up on him every day, which hasn’t happened since 2016 when I made my last visit out there to see him (my mom had taken me).
In 2014, days before Thanksgiving, I drove all the way out to CFCF for one last visit with Travis before the holiday season started.
In November of 2014, Travis Forbes was arrested and charged with the murder of 11-year-old Kenia Monge. The charges stemmed from a confession he made while in custody on an unrelated crime. A search warrant was executed at his family home, where they found a bloody t-shirt that matched the description of what Kenia Monge was wearing when she disappeared.
Travis is currently awaiting trial and is being held without bail. He has not been convicted for this crime, but this isn’t his first run in with law enforcement. He has been previously charged for kidnapping, assault, battery and attempted rape among other crimes. Travis Forbes is scheduled for a jury trial date of March 1st 2020; there have been no recent updates about Kenia Monge’s killer.
In 1996, Travis Forbes was convicted of the murder of 17-year-old Kenia Monge. The case rested largely on the testimony of two witnesses who testified that they had seen him with a gun in his hand near the victim on the night of her death. Forbes has always maintained his innocence, and in 2006 he filed a petition for postconviction relief contending that there had been significant evidence pointing to another suspect from the outset of this case, but this information had not been disclosed at trial.
The Supreme Court remanded the case back to Superior Court in 2008 where it then proceeded through successive postconviction motions and appeals until it was dismissed in 2012.
The Wrongful Conviction
In 2002, Travis Forbes was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison for the death of his girlfriend’s two-year-old daughter. The conviction was largely based on an expert who testified that the girl had died of a blow to the head. It took seven years before he was exonerated and released from prison, when it was proven that she died from sepsis and not a blow to the head.
Today, Travis is committed to fighting for justice for all children who have been wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for life. He dedicates himself to helping those who are still in jail fight their wrongful convictions so they can be free like he is. A lot of times these people have already served 10, 15 or 20 years, said Forbes. They’re going to die in prison if we don’t help them. That’s why I do what I do.
Since being exonerated, Forbes has spoken at dozens of conferences and events across the country, testifying before Congress about the problems with forensic testimony given by medical professionals. My goal is to save lives, says Travis. I’m here because there are hundreds of other families out there experiencing what I experienced.
The bottom line is no one knows how many innocent people are behind bars, Forbes says. But I know this – too many kids never get out.
The Death Sentence
In 1992, Travis Forbes killed 14-year-old Kenia Monge. But what happened to him after this heinous crime? Forbes was given life in prison without the possibility of parole, which means he would be behind bars until he died. That seemed like a just punishment for such a horrific crime. But that changed in 2008 when California passed Proposition 8, which led to the overturning of his sentence and his release from prison.
If you’re wondering what happened to Kenia Monge’s killer after he was released from prison, read on below! In 2017, Forbes was sentenced to 50 years in prison following an arrest for attempted murder. Police believe he attacked a woman with a knife while she was jogging near her home in Santa Ana.
And now Travis Forbes is sitting in jail at Orange County Jail awaiting trial on charges of attempted murder and violation of probation by possessing drugs. We can only hope he gets the justice that Kenia never received.