Crime

Murder, sodomy charges filed in death of woman killed day before her 25th birthday

Flanked by the tearful mother of homicide victim Ashley Geddes, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced first-degree murder charges in the death of the 24-year-old woman.

“No mother should have found her daughter in the manner that I found my daughter,” Stacy Gicante said.

In addition to murder, prosecutors charged Cedric O. Russell, 25, with sodomy or attempted sodomy, first-degree burglary, stealing, tampering with a motor vehicle and tampering with physical evidence.

Kansas City police found Geddes on June 1 when they went to a home in the 10500 block of East 45th Place on a reported ambulance call.

Fingerprints and evidence from Geddes’ residence led police to Russell, according to court records.

Russell allegedly told police he was choking the victim during sex and she stopped breathing, court records say. He allegedly told police he took her car, phone and jewelry and pawned her jewelry three days after her death.

Investigators used DNA and fingerprints collected at the crime scene to link Russell to the killing, according to court records.

According to court records:

Police were summoned to the Geddes’ house after Gicante failed to reach her daughter. Gicante and the victim’s uncle, Stephen L. Sellaro, went to the house to check on Geddes. No one answered when they knocked on the door.

They walked around to the back of the residence and saw the kitchen window partially open. Sellaro opened the window wider and helped Gicante crawl through.

Once inside, Gicante found Geddes in an upstairs bedroom lying face-down on the bed. She was unresponsive. Her mother called 911.

Police arrived and found several jewelry boxes on the floor. One was open and empty. Another jewelry box was opened and appeared to have been rummaged through. Police noticed several items were missing.

Geddes had been sexually assaulted, investigators at the scene were able to determine.

Russell was identified as a possible suspect in the death through fingerprints taken from a kitchen window and DNA evidence found at the crime scene, according to authorities.

During an initial interview with police, Russell said he knew the victim as “Ashley” and described her as attractive.

Investigators later learned that Russell had pawned four women’s rings at a local shop. Gicante said the rings that had been pawned belonged to her daughter.

Police arrested Russell on June 13 in connection to the killing. During the arrest, Russell reportedly ran from officers but was arrested following a brief foot chase during which he allegedly pulled a handgun from his waistband and threw it on the ground.

Russell reportedly told investigators that he and Geddes had had a sexual relationship for some time. Russell allegedly changed his story about their encounters and denied harming Geddes.

Prosecutors requested a $500,000 bond.

Gicante recalled her daughter as intelligent, caring and a beautiful person inside and out.

“She would have helped anybody with anything,” Gicante said. “She was a singer, songwriter, model, Sunday school teacher who had just been baptized. All of this while working a full-time job and taking care of her mother.

“She did not deserve this,” her mother said.

Baker said in announcing charges that it was important for a city that is experiencing an increase in violence to ensure that no victim is forgotten. Geddes was the 53rd homicide victim this year.

“Today represents just one precious victim,” Baker said.

“I want you to remember that we are talking about a real human being whose life was taken,” she said.

Russell previously had been sentenced to seven years in prison in 2012 on burglary and domestic assault charges in Jackson County.

Glenn E. Rice: 816-234-4341, @GRicekcstar

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