Local News Spotlight

Victim found slain in car had a violent past

Updated: 2013-01-01T03:03:38Z

By TONY RIZZO

The Kansas City Star

Three times since 2007, prosecutors in Jackson County filed murder charges against Antwan S. Wooden.

And three times, the 27-year-old Kansas City man avoided conviction.

But on Sunday, Wooden became a statistic on the other side of the homicide ledger. He was found shot to death inside a car parked on a central Kansas City street.

Police said that Wooden was found dead in the 3800 block of Bales Avenue, where he had reportedly gone the night before to meet someone, according to information provided by his girlfriend.

She told police that Wooden had left her house about 11 p.m. Saturday. On Sunday she was unable to reach him and asked her mother to check the area. The mother found her daughter’s car, looked inside and saw Wooden’s body, according to police.

Anthony L. Nevels, 20, of Kansas City, known as “Ant,” was charged Monday with second-degree murder and armed criminal action.

According to court records, a witness told police that Nevels and Wooden arranged a drug deal, but Nevels became angry when the white powdery substance he purchased from Wooden turned out to be baking soda. According to the witness, Nevels went back to confront the victim. The witness reported hearing seven to eight gunshots before Nevels returned holding a handgun.

In 2007, Wooden was charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of a man near 30th Street and Lister Avenue. Information about the outcome of that case no longer is available on Jackson County court records.

Four months later, Wooden and two others were charged with second-degree murder after Wooden’s brother was shot to death during an attempted kidnapping.

According to court documents, the Woodens and two other suspects attempted to collect ransom from the brother of a man they were holding at gunpoint inside a Kansas City house.

After Antwan Wooden and the two other suspects left to meet the victim’s brother to collect the ransom, the victim worked his duct-taped hands free and overpowered and disarmed Wooden’s brother, who was shot and killed, according to the court records.

Antwan Wooden and the two other suspects were charged with murder because the killing occurred during a kidnapping.

But according to court records, Antwan Wooden later pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of felonious restraint and was sentenced to one year in custody.

In July 2009, Wooden was charged with second-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of 31-year-old James Ragsdale. According to court documents, Ragsdale was killed and two other people wounded when gunmen fired on them in the driveway of a home in the 4300 block of Flora Avenue.

Again, information about that case no longer is available in Jackson County court records. Such criminal case information is removed from public view if charges are dismissed or a suspect is acquitted.

A spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office said Monday that she had no information about what happened in the two now-closed murder cases.

To reach Tony Rizzo, call 816-234-4435 or send email to trizzo@kcstar.com.

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