Crime

Second of two KC brothers guilty of murder in rapper’s death at Overland Park bar

James Willis, of Kansas City, was found guilty of murder Friday by a Johnson County jury in the 2015 killing of a 24-year-old Olathe man. His brother was convicted last year in the same case.
James Willis, of Kansas City, was found guilty of murder Friday by a Johnson County jury in the 2015 killing of a 24-year-old Olathe man. His brother was convicted last year in the same case. deulitt@kcstar.com

The second of two Kansas City brothers put on trial for the shooting death of a 24-year-old Olathe man was convicted of murder Friday.

At the end of a trial that began last week, a Johnson County District Court jury found James Willis guilty of first-degree murder in the September 2015 killing of Jurl Carter, an aspiring rapper, outside Jim Kilroy’s Roxy Bar at 75th Street and Metcalf Avenue in Overland Park.

Willis was also convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm. His older brother, Dale Willis, was convicted of murder last year in the same case.

Carter was an aspiring rapper who performed under the names Yunglyfe Carter and Bo Boogy. On the night of the shooting, Carter had gone to the club hoping to perform, but did not. The actual shooting was captured on surveillance cameras outside the bar.

Dale Willis, a Kansas City record company president and rapper who did perform at the Roxy that night, was standing outside the bar with several others when Carter pulled his car into a parking spot near them, according to testimony at his trial. Dale Willis apparently became upset because he thought Carter almost hit him with his car.

After the two men exchanged angry words, Dale Willis punched Carter in the face, knocking him to the ground. Carter got up, went to his car and started to drive away but another man, who prosecutors identified as James Willis, fired 11 shots into the car.

Four bullets struck Carter in the chest, according to testimony. Prosecutors argued that Dale Willis ordered his brother to shoot Carter. Defense attorneys for the brothers argued there was no evidence of such an order.

The Willis brothers reportedly fled the scene together in a red pickup truck that investigators said belonged to a cousin of the brothers. As part of their case, prosecutors at Dale Willis’ trial presented surveillance video taken outside a house owned by the Willis family showing Dale Willis driving a red pickup truck.

Jurors were not told the video was part of an ongoing federal investigation into a drug-trafficking ring that led to charges against several people, including the Willis cousin who owned the truck.

Prosecutors also presented testimony about a fingerprint found on Carter’s car that investigators matched to Dale Willis.

A firearms expert testified that .45-caliber shell casings found at the crime scene were all fired by the same Glock weapon.

No guns were found as a result of the murder investigation. But an analysis of data later found on James Willis’ cellphone showed internet searches for .45-caliber ammunition and Glock accessories.

Sentencing for James Willis has not yet been set. Dale Willis was scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 26.

Dale Willis was found guilty of first-degree murder by a Johnson County District Court jury in the September 2015 murder of rapper Jurl Carter.

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