Home U.S. NEWS Judge finds Kansas City man guilty of killing friend and running over corpse

Judge finds Kansas City man guilty of killing friend and running over corpse

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Judge finds Kansas City man guilty of killing friend and running over corpse

A Jackson County judge on Tuesday sentenced a Kansas City man to life in prison for shooting his friend in the back, stealing his truck and running him over as he fled.

Jonathan L. Bradford, 41, was found guilty of second-degree murder, armed criminal action, tampering with a motor vehicle and abandonment of a corpse at the end of a jury trial in June. He was convicted of killing 35-year-old Lodiller Styles in July 2020.

Judge Sarah Castle sentenced Bradford to serve the maximum sentence for second-degree murder. She also ordered Bradford to spend a further seven years in prison for three other offences.

On July 22, 2020, Kansas City police officers responded to a daylight shooting at East 40th Street and Tracy Avenue in the Manheim Park neighborhood. Styles was found dead on the ground from apparent gunshot wounds.

Medical examiners later determined that Styles was shot at close range in the cheek, upper right back and the back of the head.

Witnesses told police that Styles and Bradford were at Styles’ apartment together on the day of the murder. Styles was driving Bradford back to his Manheim Park home when Bradford suddenly shot Styles while they were sitting in a blue pickup truck, according to one of the witnesses who was also in the vehicle.

The witness in the pickup said Bradford was smoking drugs and “acting strangely.” The shooting occurred after Bradford attempted to get out of the back seat but was prevented from doing so because the child locks were activated.

The pickup lurched forward and crashed into a van after Styles was shot. Then, the witness said, Bradford pulled Styles from the front seat and drove away.

Just over a week later, charges were filed against Bradford based on eyewitness identification and other evidence, including a private Facebook message that Bradford had sent to a relative.

The message contained in the first part of Bradford’s statement was: “I just thought everyone kept saying I did that… and then fuck yeah, I did it.” During a police interview, Bradford denied shooting Styles to have.

In a motion filed Monday in Jackson County Circuit Court, prosecutors asked for the maximum sentence for Bradford on the murder conviction. Assistant District Attorney Hallie Schuman wrote that Bradford had shown “no remorse” by “not acknowledging anything about the trial and his convictions.”

“Not only did he kill one of his close friends at close range, but he then ran him over as he tried to escape,” Schuman said in the motion.

Bradford was represented by the Missouri Public Defender’s Office. His lawyer filed a motion Monday for a lighter sentence of 15 years, saying Bradford’s childhood was marked by “immense trauma,” including the murder of his father when he was a child.

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