Nearly four years after the random killing of a 60-year-old jogger shocked the Raytown community, police and prosecutors announced Tuesday they have solved the case.
Craig L. Brown, 24, of Kansas City faces a second-degree murder charge in the shooting death of Harry Stone.
Court records released Tuesday do not mention a motive.
For years, police had been looking for two people who drove past Stone as he jogged on May 13, 2012. One opened fire, apparently for no reason.
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Before he died in surgery, Stone told a St. Luke’s Hospital anesthesiologist that two black men with “dreads” shot him from a passing car. Brown wore his hair in dreadlocks at the time of Stone’s death, according to witnesses cited in court records.
Investigators also tied the car believed used in the 2012 killing to Brown, the court records said.
And Brown allegedly possessed the murder weapon, a Glock handgun, when he wrecked a different vehicle in January 2015. Kansas City police found the gun in the glove box, according to court documents.
“This is a day that we are seeking justice for Harry Stone,” Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said Tuesday as she held up a color photo of the victim — a husband, father and grandfather.
The arrest and filing of charges gives hope to people waiting for justice, said Stone’s widow, Bobbie Stone, a Methodist minister.
“Forty-one years ago last month, I met Harry Stone,” she said. “He became my best friend and then became my husband, and on the morning of May 13, 2012, I kissed him goodbye as he left for his run for what I did not know was for the very last time.
“And I mean for the very last time because my husband was considered a crime scene. Even in death, I was unable to touch him to say goodbye to kiss him again. I had to do that at a distance of 3 feet. I understand the necessity of that, but it hurts my heart that I was unable to crawl into a hospital bed and tell him goodbye.”
Harry Stone, a U.S. Army veteran and property manager for a Lee’s Summit residential development, was shot near 67th Street and Blue Ridge Boulevard during his morning jog.
At the time, police searched for a dark-colored four-door car with at least two occupants that fled the scene. The Metro Squad assembled to investigate but disbanded several days later without making an arrest.
According to court records:
Last year, Kansas City police sent the handgun recovered from Brown’s wrecked car to a lab for ballistic testing. The test drew a match to evidence from the killing of Stone.
Detectives then traced the gun’s history, which led them back to Brown and the car he drove at the time. It belonged to his girlfriend. Police had stopped him in it multiple times, including before and after the death of Stone.
Investigators found the car in Kingsville, Mo., waiting to be crushed. The car matched the description of one in a surveillance video taken at a Blue Ridge Boulevard gas station the day of the killing.
In November, a prisoner being held in Pennsylvania identified Brown as the killer during an interview with police. He said he had sold the gun to Brown days before the killing. Shortly after the killing, Brown wanted to sell it back, claiming the gun was “hot.” At the time, Brown said he had shot someone in Raytown.
Police arrested Brown on Monday — a moment long desired by Stone’s family and friends. Brown was being held Tuesday in lieu of a $200,000 bond.
“I hear the word ‘victim’ a lot in regards to all of us, Harry’s family,” Bobbie Stone said Tuesday. “I see don’t see us as victims although I understand the need for the word.
“But I see us as survivors. We have survived loss, we have survived a hateful, senseless crime, and today we see the wheels of justice beginning to move. This is what we sought from the beginning.”
Over the years, various fundraising events, including church pancake breakfasts, helped increase the reward fund for finding the killer from $10,000 to $25,000. In September 2012, almost 500 people attended a fundraising breakfast at Bobbie Stone’s southeast Kansas City church. Others donated money through a website and wore wristbands bearing the words “Do the Right Thing.”
Bobbie Stone was serving in 2012 as a pastoral assistant at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in southeast Kansas City and as a hospice chaplain at John Knox Village in Lee’s Summit.
Although she considered grief counseling a specialty of hers, she said at Christmastime in 2012 that nobody could have prepared her for what she had gone through since her husband’s death.
“Early on, I said that I wasn’t angry yet, but that the anger would come,” she said in 2012. “And it has. And it hasn’t quite passed.”