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DeValkenaere in custody after court upholds ex-KCPD detective’s conviction

Jonathan Ketz, Alyssa Mueller
Kansas City skyline surrounded by news articles

A former Kansas City police officer has been booked into jail Tuesday after an appeals court upheld his conviction in the deadly shooting of a Black man.

Eric DeValkenaere, a former KCPD detective, was convicted in 2021 of second-degree involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action in the 2019 deadly shooting of Cameron Lamb.

DeValkenaere appealed his conviction. But on Tuesday, the Missouri Court of Appeals upheld the conviction, saying there is sufficient evidence that DeValkenaere killed Lamb and acted with criminal negligence.

“This is validation of the rule of law and it is a victory for the truth,” a statement read in part from Democratic Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker.

“In courtrooms, politics, and false narratives cannot prevail against evidence and facts … The victim was killed inside his garage on an otherwise unremarkable winter day around noon in 2019.” 

“She felt like she had probable cause to charge Det, DeValkenaere,” criminal defense attorney John Picerno told FOX4 Tuesday, speaking of Peters Baker. “She felt like she had a case to pursue, and she did that which is her sworn duty to do to the citizens of Jackson County.” 

Republican Attorney General Andrew Bailey’s office said they’re reviewing the court’s opinion. DeValkenaere got support from Bailey’s office in this case, as he decided not to support the conviction.

The former KC detective shot and killed Lamb as he backed his truck into his garage. Police had gone to his home after reports that he had been speeding after another vehicle.

Picerno said he’s been in contact with DeValkenaere’s attorney, Jonathan Laurans, since Tuesday’s ruling. Laurans won’t comment to FOX4, but Picerno thinks Laurans could file an appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court.

“However, in the interim, we don’t know what the governor is going to do, you know?” he said. “The governor could step in at any moment and pardon Det. DeValkenaere, and that’s the end of it. Game over. Case over.”

Republican Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s press secretary Johnathan Shiflett sent the following statement to FOX4 Tuesday:

“Gov. Parson is aware of the court’s decision and is assessing the situation. Gov. Parson will give the same thorough review to Mr. DeValkenaere’s case that he gives to all others that come across his desk. No decision regarding a pardon has been made at this time.”

“I think there’s a good chance it will happen,” Picerno said of a pardon. “Do I know it’s going to happen? Do I have some insight one way or another? I think there’s a good chance it will happen.”

After the court’s decision, a warrant was issued for DeValkenaere’s arrest. He was booked into jail just before noon Tuesday and has been placed in protective custody. According to court documents, DeValkenaere will now serve his sentence.