Crime

Kansas City’s ‘biggest gangster’ sentenced for illegal firearm

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The self-proclaimed “biggest gangster in Kansas City” was sentenced Monday to 18 years in federal prison for illegally possessing a stolen firearm.

DeMarko L. Collins, 28, was being investigated in connection with a 2015 homicide in Independence when detectives recovered a .45-caliber handgun from an apartment where he was living in North Kansas City.

The gun had previously been reported stolen, according to court documents filed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City.

Collins pleaded guilty last September to being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a stolen firearm.

Federal sentencing guidelines called for a sentence of seven to nine years for Collins on the gun charges.

But federal prosecutors argued for a higher sentence because of Collins’ alleged involvement in the Independence homicide.

“Defendant is a recidivist who poses a threat to the safety of the community,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey McCarther wrote in arguing for the higher sentence. “Defendant’s criminal behavior has continued to escalate, to the point where he is engaged in high-end drug trafficking, illegal possession of narcotics and murder. As defendant noted, he considers himself to be the biggest gangster in Kansas City.

He has not been charged in the Sept. 18, 2015, fatal shooting of David Duncan, but on Monday, prosecutors presented testimony from two Independence police detectives about Duncan’s killing.

Duncan, 45, was found shot outside a house in the 16900 block of East 41st Terrace South.

Defense attorney Carl Cornwell argued in a written objection to the government’s request that it is improper to enhance Collins’ sentence with an uncharged crime.

“It’s defendant’s position that if he is believed to have been the perpetrator in this homicide, then the remedy, the correct thing and the only thing that should be done, is to have it charged in Jackson County as a homicide and let a jury determine whether or not the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,” Cornwell wrote.

But according to the government’s evidence, Duncan was shot as he arrived home by a man who stepped out of an orange Dodge Journey. Surveillance video from a nearby gas station showed the Journey several hours before the shooting.

Collins was identified as the driver of the vehicle, which was registered to his girlfriend, according to testimony.

Tony Rizzo: 816-234-4435, @trizzkc

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