A 28-year-old Kansas City man is accused of first-degree murder in the 2015 death of a local rapper who was shot in the right temple and the neck as he sat in a car with his alleged killer.
Jackson County prosecutors also charged Derius Taylor with first-degree robbery and armed criminal action in the shooting death of Dominique A. Stafford, 20, whose body was found inside a car on April 23, 2015, near 37th Street and Elmwood Avenue. A person walking nearby spotted the body inside the vehicle and called authorities.
Prosecutors asked that bond be set at $250,000.
Stafford was found slumped over inside the car, according to police.
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The month before Stafford was killed, his brother, Arthur Stafford Jr., 22, was found fatally shot outside Tony’s Market in the 3900 block of East 31st Street.
The Stafford brothers were rap artists with Duced Out Records, a Kansas City-based record company. No one has been charged in the killing of Arthur Stafford.
According to allegations in court records:
Taylor, known as “Old Man,” made arrangements to meet Dominique Stafford to buy drugs. However, Taylor’s alleged intent was to rob Stafford of drugs, large sums of cash and a diamond-encrusted necklace that Stafford frequently wore.
The men met near a Family Dollar or Dollar General store near 31st Street and Van Brunt Boulevard. Taylor climbed into the front passenger’s seat. Once inside, Taylor allegedly pulled out a gun and shot Stafford twice.
Taylor then reportedly took the necklace and a rifle that was inside the car. Taylor got out and went to another car waiting nearby. Another person got in the car with Stafford’s body and drove away while Taylor allegedly followed them in the second car. They reportedly left the car with Stafford inside near 37th Street and Elmwood Avenue because a person with whom Stafford had a “beef” lived in that neighborhood, according to court records.
Police later found Stafford’s body. Through relatives and witnesses, investigators learned that Stafford routinely drove around with an AK-47 rifle with him at all times.
Stafford was known to carry cash along with a cellphone in his pockets. On the night before he was found fatally shot, Stafford was wearing a large unique chain with a diamond-encrusted pendant, friends told investigators. The chain and pendant were gold, and the pendant had a circle with the letters DOR in the center. The pendant had an inscription, “T Nine.” It was a gift given to rap artists who had signed with the local record company Duced Out Records. The necklace was one of approximately six in existence, court records said.
The money, jewelry, assault rifle and drugs that were kept in the car’s console were missing when police found Stafford’s body. The front pockets were completely turned inside out, and there were no keys inside the car, according to court records.
Several weeks after the shooting, investigators tracked a number of cellphone pings to a residence in the 700 block of Bennington Avenue, where Taylor was known to frequent. Detectives reportedly saw Taylor use a cellphone that had been stolen during the shooting. Taylor had changed the phone number associated with the cellphone, court records stated.
Detectives later followed Taylor and another man as they drove to a pawn shop in the 6000 block of East Truman Road. Investigators learned that Taylor had pawned jewelry there several days before he was interviewed by detectives.
Taylor allegedly told investigators that he pawned the jewelry for money after he found the pendant in the grass on 27th Street near Chelsea Avenue. He denied calling Stafford to arrange a meeting to buy drugs, according to court records.
Taylor has had previous robbery arrests. In 2006, he was placed on three years’ probation after pleading guilty to robbery charges. And in 2015, prosecutors charged Taylor with robbery, burglary, unlawful use of a weapon and armed criminal action in two other cases.