The man suspected in the shooting deaths of five men on or near south Kansas City trails appeared in Jackson County Circuit Court on Thursday, but prosecutors asked for and received a continuance in the case until Oct. 23.
Fredrick Scott’s public defender had objected to the continuance. Relatives of the victims were in the courtroom for Scott’s scheduled hearing.
Scott, 22, is charged in two killings and is a suspect in the other three. All five occurred within about one year. He is charged with murder in the deaths of Steven Gibbons, 57, and John Palmer, 54. Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker also has named Scott as a suspect in the killings of David Lenox, 67, Timothy S. Rice, 57, and Mike Darby, 61.
All five were fatally shot, most from behind, in surprise attacks as they walked dogs, visited parks and, in one case, walked down a city street. The first, Palmer, was killed Aug. 19, 2016, near Indian Creek Trail. The last, Gibbons, was gunned down after getting off a bus on Troost Avenue on Aug. 13.
Scott is black and the shooting victims were white. In 2014 Scott threatened to shoot up a school and “kill all white people,” according to court records. His mother said he was demonized by schizophrenia.
Scott appeared in court wearing khaki pants, a dress shirt and a necktie.
A number of the relatives of the victims attended the brief hearing before Associate Circuit Judge Mary Weir. Several relatives dabbed their eyes as they left the courtroom.
Afterward, Brian Darby, the son of Mike Darby, said it was difficult seeing the man suspected in his father’s death for the first time.
“The defendant knows and the court knows that we’re not going to let this go,” said Brian Darby as he stood next to family members. “It needs to come to the rightful conclusion. We want justice.”