Jury convicts member of murderous family

The 37-year-old nephew of a serial killer has been convicted of second-degree murder by a Jackson County jury, the prosecutor’s office said Saturday.

Diamond Blair is already serving 23 years in prison for other convictions.

The jury on Friday evening found Blair guilty of murder, robbery and armed criminal action in the death of Montague Kevin Ashline, 22, on June 24, 2009, outside Alps Apartments at 36th Street and Baltimore Avenue in Kansas City.

Blair, whose first arrest came when he was 6 years old, is a member of one of Kansas City’s most notorious criminal families, which includes five convicted murderers.

His uncle Terry Blair was convicted in 2008 of murdering six women along Prospect Avenue in 2004. Blair’s mother was charged with murder twice and convicted once for killing her drug-dealing boyfriend in 1989.

Even before Terry Blair killed six women, a defense attorney defending Diamond Blair’s brother for murder told a courtroom in 2002 that his client was “born to a family of murderers.”

Court records alleged that Diamond Blair, accompanied by two accomplices, shot and killed Ashline in a robbery attempt. Ashline had thrown up his hands and declared he had nothing, but the gunman “immediately shot him,” according to court records. Video surveillance cameras recorded the crime.

Long before the murder, Diamond Blair had a lengthy rap sheet. Between the ages of 12 and 16 he appeared in juvenile court for assault, stealing cars and fleeing the court’s McCune School for Boys.

In the six months before turning 16, he racked up charges in four robberies, a kidnapping and weapons violations. A judge certified him to stand trial as an adult and sent him to jail, where Blair and two others sodomized a 15-year-old boy.