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3 people accused of murder in KC likely to be released, over prosecutor’s objections

By Max Londberg jlondberg@kcstar.com August 08, 2018 09:27 PM

Three alleged murderers from two separate incidents in Kansas City were granted lower bonds on Wednesday and are all likely to be released, according to Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker.

Christopher L. Jones, 37, and Markell Pinkins, 22, face second-degree murder and other charges in the killing of Kevin Thomas, 45. Judge Joel P. Fahnestock granted their motions for bond reduction Wednesday, reducing each of their bonds from $200,000 to $50,000. Jones posted bond the same day.

“Prosecutors and the victims’ family objected to a reduction in bond,” said Peters Baker. “But the court found otherwise.”

Daejona M. Holmes, 15, allegedly killed her parents in a shooting in April at a residence in the 5000 block of Belmeade Road. Daejona’s parents were Brian Starr, 38, and Kinderly Holmes, 37. A judge granted Daejona an “ROR” bond, which requires only a signature and no money paid prior to her release, according to the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office and court records. Her initial bond was set at $150,000 cash.

“Prosecutors expect to appeal the judge’s decision regarding bond because no notice was given, and therefore the victims’ rights statute was violated,” Peters Baker said. “As with normal procedure, defendants file motions with the court requesting that their bonds be reduced, and the court then sets a hearing date. In this case, that was not done. “We were not given any time to do research to determine if she is a risk to the community,” Peters Baker said. When asked if Daejona’s bond reduction followed procedures legally, Peters Baker said Wednesday afternoon that it would be up to a judge to determine that.

Jones and Pinkins were working as security guards with the Overland Park-based Force One Security and Consulting firm when they allegedly shot and killed a man in his vehicle outside theTwo security guards with an Overland Park firm were charged with murder in a fatal shooting in June outside the Yum Yum Bar in Kansas City.

John Picerno, a defense attorney representing Jones, wrote in a motion for a bond reduction that Jones has no prior felonies and is a former police officer. “It is important that (Jones) be released in order to maintain in employment,” Picerno wrote.

In response, the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office filed a motion stating Jones “attempted to cover up the crime by hiding his weapon” and lied to police. “Even now, he feels comfortable lying to the Court by suggesting that his release is necessary for him to return to work at Force One Security. … The State has confirmed that Force One Security has suspended (Jones) without pay until this case is resolved,” the prosecutor’s motion states.

Pinkins’ attorney, Stephanie M. Burton, wrote her client has no prior felony convictions and can return to work at Force One in an unarmed capacity.

Burton added Pinkins was in fear for his safety and others’ “when a visibly intoxicated man struck another vehicle, and … made attempts to run the security officers over.”

In response, a prosecutor wrote that Pinkins “relies on the fact that victim ‘struck another vehicle,’ evidently referring to the fender bender in which no one was hurt. … (Pinkins) shot a man because he was fleeing a minor fender bender, and the fact that he (Pinkins) does not understand that that was a criminal act speaks volumes about his character and mental state.”

When asked if she agreed with Fahnestock granting a bond reduction for Pinkins and Jones, Peters Baker said, “While I disagree with the judge’s ruling, we respect her decision.”

A different judge, Richard T. Standridge, denied in late July motions for a bond reduction in both Jones’ and Pinkins’ cases, according to court records.

Conditions of Pinkins’ and Jones’ bonds are that neither has contact with the victim’s family or have contact with firearms. They will also be electronically monitored “either through (house arrest) or a private company,” according to court records.

Daejona Holmes is under house arrest as part of her bond conditions. No firearms can be in the residence, and she’s permitted to leave only for “medical appointments and legal hearings,” according to court records.

According to court documents, Daejona told a police dispatcher that her father had shot her mother, prompting her to shoot her father.

Daejona M. Holmes, 15, of Kansas City has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the fatal shootings of her parents, Kinderly Holmes, 37, and Brian Starr, 38, in their Kansas City home in the 5000 block of Belmeade Road on April 9. This Google Maps Street View photo is from September 2014.

Google Maps

But police found in a backpack a handwritten drawing of stick figures with one figure shooting another. The figures were allegedly labeled “Dad” and “Me.” A third stick figure had X’s as eyes and “blood” around it, according to court documents.

Daejona’s phone history showed a recent search for “Scary movies where kids kill parents,” according to court records. It also showed rap lyrics about wanting her father dead, according to court records.

Detectives also found a video from Feb. 15 that showed Daejona dancing in her bedroom while holding a handgun.

L.J. Brackson, Daejona’s uncle, believes Daejona’s account.

Brackson said Starr verbally and physically abused Daejona and her mother, once knocking out one of her mother’s teeth.

“I personally hotlined him in 2013,” Brackson said, explaining he’d seen Starr singing inappropriate and provocative lyrics to Daejona and heard an account of him striking her on the head. Daejona also told him at the time of being physically abused by her father, Brackson said.

Brackson said alcohol often fueled Starr’s violence, and Starr ended all communication between Kinderly Holmes and his daughter and the rest of the family for about a seven-month period beginning in 2013.

“We have a strong case supporting Daejona’s innocence,” Brackson said.

He declined to say whether Daejona was out of custody Wednesday evening.