The man accused of paralyzing a 10-year-old boy and killing his father in a shooting last week in Kansas City appeared in court Friday and said he planned to get out of jail by making his bond.
The statement floored relatives of the boy, who attended the first court appearance for Dontae D. Jefferson, 27.
But Kansas City police said his release is highly unlikely. Detectives had already asked to revoke Jefferson’s parole, based on evidence they had gathered in the homicide investigation. The revocation would keep him locked up without bond.
Prosecutors on Thursday charged Jefferson with first-degree murder, shooting at a vehicle, endangering the welfare of a child, unlawful use of a weapon and two counts of armed criminal action in the death of Ka’Vyea Curry, 34, and the wounding of his son.
On Friday, detectives continued to search for a motive in the April 18 ambush shooting at a gas station at 45th Street and Cleveland Avenue, but they believe the killer may have sought retaliation against Curry.
“It looks like there was some bad blood between them,” said Sgt. Tom Dearing, who supervised the investigation. “There was no discussion” before the gunshots.
The killer got out of a vehicle to approach Curry on foot, indicating the gunman wasn’t willing to risk missing or simply wounding Curry in a drive-by shooting, police said.
Video surveillance footage of the killing showed a gunman approaching Curry’s vehicle just after Curry pumped gas, sat down in the driver’s seat and was closing his door. The gunman pumped eight bullets into the vehicle, killing Curry and wounding his son, Ka’Vyea Tyson-Curry, in the front passenger seat. A 5-year-old boy in the back seat, unrelated biologically to Curry, was not hurt.
But what exactly triggered the outrage remains uncertain for now, police said.
Police previously had investigated Curry as a career burglar, but they were not aware of any violent crimes he may have committed.
Police have yet to find a link between Curry and Jefferson, who both served time in Missouri prisons but not in the same facility at the same time, according to prison records released Friday. Jefferson got out of prison in August from a 2004 robbery conviction and lived with his parents until his arrest Wednesday.
The homicide detectives who cracked the case, Alane Booth and Robert Guffey, watched Friday as Jefferson was transferred from the police jail to the Jackson County jail and spoke to reporters afterward.
Booth said they were still looking for witnesses at the gas station who fled after the shooting before talking to police. Video surveillance showed one man peering into the victims’ car windows, then driving away without offering assistance.
“These people may have had a reason,” she said. “But maybe they have some regrets now. We still need to talk to everyone we can.”
She said officers who helped the wounded boy after he was shot and before an ambulance arrived remain affected by the brutality of the crime.
They were keeping the boy comfortable and trying to distract him from his pain, she said, when he asked them, “Is this what it feels like to die?”
In Jackson County Circuit Court on Friday, Jefferson wore a blue, two-piece inmate suit and jail-issued slippers during the six-minute hearing. He was brought into court handcuffed by one wrist to two other inmates.
When it was his turn to stand in front of Judge Brent Powell, Jefferson carefully watched Powell outline the allegations against him.
Jefferson then said he planned on posting his $500,000 bond, which a judge previously set with the provision that he only needed to bring 10 percent of the amount, or $50,000. Prosecutors had requested that the full $500,000 be posted.
Powell told Jefferson that posting bond would make him ineligible for a public defender.
Relatives of the boy wounded in the shooting didn’t know Jefferson was facing a parole violation, so his declaration startled them.
“He should have been held without bond, just because of the violence and viciousness” of the crime, said Forest Tyson, grandfather of the boy. “If his mom and dad are sympathetic,” he could make bond.
Ky Martin, the boy’s aunt, expressed frustration after the hearing Friday.
“The thought of him back on the streets, it scares me.”
Relatives on Friday said they had heard of various fundraising efforts for the boy on social media but that the only one guaranteed to help the family with medical expenses and to buy a wheelchair van was the bank account set up in the boy’s name at Bank of America.