Flanked by grieving family members of 14-year-old Alexis Kane, an emotional Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker on Sunday announced murder charges against three suspects in Alexis’ slaying earlier this month.
The suspects — two of them 17 and the other 18 — are accused of beating and shooting Alexis on Jan. 11 and leaving her body at The Bay Water Park in the 7100 block of Longview Road in south Kansas City, just down the road from Smith-Hale Middle School, where she attended eighth grade.
The defendants are all Kansas City residents. They were identified as Isaac M. Carter and Ce-Antonyo D. Kennedy, both 17, and Dominic McDaniel, 18. Each is charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action.
All three were in custody after a massive effort by Kansas City police and federal agents to find them, Baker said. The last of the suspects was arrested Sunday morning.
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Baker said a motive for the crime is not known.
“It’s senseless. Absolutely senseless,” she said. “I cannot give you a reason that makes any sense.”
Baker choked up when announcing the charges at an afternoon news conference at Kansas City police headquarters after what she called a “very, very painful” meeting with the mother and aunt of Alexis.
“This is incredibly difficult for them,” she said. “They are really struggling with the information they have received today.”
The prosecutor said she takes every homicide personally, but the killing of a child such as Alexis is the kind of crime that should have the entire community questioning why it happened and what can be done to prevent other families from feeling such pain.
“It’s really about as terrible as I can imagine,” Baker said. “She was only 14. She deserved a long life.”
In a barely audible voice, LaShonda Kane spoke at Sunday’s news conference and thanked the Police Department and members of the community who provided tips to help catch the men now accused of killing her daughter.
“This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life,” she said.
Like Baker, she implored the community to “protect your children” and work together to prevent other killings.
“I don’t want you standing where I am today,” she said.
Affidavits filed in support of the criminal charges do not say how Alexis initially met her alleged killers.
Her friends told detectives that in the hours before she was killed, Alexis was communicating on Facebook with someone identified as “Malik.”
The friends also said that they gave Alexis a ride to the 7-Eleven at 10615 Blue Ridge Blvd. after she made arrangements to meet someone there.
The same store was the scene of another tragic killing in October when 6-year-old Angel Hooper was killed by shots fired from a passing car.
After arriving at the convenience store, Alexis’ friends said they told her not to get in a car with the people she planned to meet, but she did anyway.
The friends said they tried to follow the car, a white four-door Chrysler that was occupied by two men with dreadlocks, but they lost sight of it. Surveillance video later viewed by police showed her getting into the car just before 4 a.m. on Jan. 11, according to the court documents.
Surveillance video later obtained from The Bay Water Park, where her body was found, showed a light-colored vehicle, similar to a Chrysler, stop in the parking lot just before 5 a.m. that day. The video also showed her being physically assaulted and shot, according to the documents.
On Jan. 22, detectives interviewed a witness who said that Carter and McDaniel picked Alexis up at the 7-Eleven and drove her back to an apartment in Grandview. There, they met up with Kennedy, according to the allegations.
The group then drove to the water park, where Alexis was pistol-whipped by Kennedy and then shot “multiple” times by Carter, the witness said.
After he was arrested, Kennedy denied any involvement in the killing, according to court records.
McDaniel allegedly admitted to being with Carter when they picked her up. He said that Kennedy hit her in the face with the pistol before firing about five shots at her. Carter then allegedly grabbed the gun and fired more shots, he said, according to the court documents.
Kennedy has been in custody since the day after Alexis was killed, according to court records. He was charged with tampering with a motor vehicle on Jan. 12, according to the documents.
Carter was also facing an unrelated tampering charge filed last year, the records show.
Prosecutors asked that each defendant be held on a cash bond of $500,000, and Baker said she is committed to seeking justice for Alexis and her family.
Shanaya Kane also spoke on Sunday about the killing of her niece.
She said the family had spent many sleepless nights knowing that those who killed Alexis were still on the loose, and she praised the efforts of police to “get these cowards off the street.”
But she said they know it is just the beginning of the fight for justice.
“Please keep our family in your prayers,” she said.
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