Man is found guilty of Manslaughter, had been charged with Murder in the Second Degree
Paper: The Kansas City Star
Title: Man is found guilty in fatal KC shooting
Date: March 12, 1998
A Jackson County jury Wednesday convicted a Kansas City man of manslaughter for shooting an intruder. Jurors rejected Michael Stigler’s argument of self-defense. The trial was among the first involving a new Missouri law that can force witnesses testify. Stigler was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter and armed criminal action for shooting Derrick Dearborn to death Jan. 2, 1997.
A judge could sentence him to up to 15 years for manslaughter. Dearborn was on cocaine and looking for drugs when he went to Stigler’s apartment at 3421 Locust St. at 4 a.m., the defense said. Stigler testified that he was a former drug dealer. Stigler said Dearborn attacked him after he told Dearborn to leave. Stigler said he grabbed Dearborn’s gun after it fell on the floor.
Then he shot Dearborn after the two men tumbled down the back stairs. Stigler’s girlfriend, Lakisha Brown, was a key witness. She first told police the gun belonged to Stigler. She told police that Stigler ordered her in the fight “to get his thing, and I went, and I got his gun. ” Later last year Brown cited her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and refused to testify. That meant jurors could not hear her statement to police.
On Aug. 28, Missouri’s new immunity law went into effect. Prosecutors used it to get a court order for her to testify or go to jail.
At Stigler’s mistrial in November and at his trial this week, Brown told a different story from what she had told police. She testified the gun belonged to Dearborn. Jurors, however, also heard what she told police. After the trial, jurors said they believed her statement to police. They and prosecutors praised the immunity law.