Crime

After her daughter was killed in KC, mom does 'detective work' that leads to arrest

Jessika Peppers was fatally shot last summer by her ex-boyfriend, who had a warrant for his arrest at the time of the shooting, according to records. More than eight months passed before he was detained.
Jessika Peppers was fatally shot last summer by her ex-boyfriend, who had a warrant for his arrest at the time of the shooting, according to records. More than eight months passed before he was detained. Courtesy of Carol Peppers

More than eight months after Kansas City police responded to his home and questioned him in a shooting that killed his ex-girlfriend, David Love was arrested Wednesday for an outstanding warrant.

The ex-girlfriend's mother criticized authorities for a lack of urgency in arresting Love on the unrelated charge, despite an investigation into the shooting that stretched more than three months.

Love's warrant for missing a court date while on probation was issued about a week before he shot and killed Jessika Peppers in late August, according to records.

Peppers, 32, was believed to have broken into Love's home and was found with a hammer in her hand, according to a police report. Love, 35, told police he hadn't recognized his ex-girlfriend. Prosecutors ruled that the shooting was in self-defense.

Cambridge shooting
The home where David Love fatally shot his ex-girlfriend, Jessika Peppers, to death last summer. Authorities ruled the shooting self-defense. Jill Toyoshiba jtoyoshiba@kcstar.com

The ex-girlfriend's mother, Carol Peppers, is furious so many months passed before Kansas City police arrested Love on the unrelated warrant.

Love had been charged with receiving stolen property and was placed on probation in 2016.

Days after her daughter was killed, Carol Peppers discovered Love's warrant by searching Case.net, a publicly accessible court records database. After the discovery, she said she informed a Kansas City police detective about it mere days after the shooting, but nothing was done.

"I've had to be a detective for the past eight months for them to do their job," she said. "That's pretty ridiculous to expect a grieving mother to do their work."

Jessika Peppers was killed last August by her ex-boyfriend, David Love, when he was banned from possessing weapons. Her mother, Carol Peppers, speaks about her daughter.

Police questioned Love shortly after the deadly shooting, according to Mike Mansur, a spokesman for the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office.

Kevin Wichman, a Kansas City-based attorney, said he was shocked police didn't arrest Love while investigating him in the shooting case.

"I get people with their names run for traffic stops, any sort of contact (with police)," Wichman said. "That would have been something police could have easily taken him in on. ... They should have picked him up for sure."

Kansas City police spokesman Lionel Colón said detectives must deal with "an abundance of criminals with felony warrants."

"KCPD does not have an abundance of officers to seek out each and every one, individually, all at once," he added. "Consequently, criminals have become increasingly proficient in avoiding us. Yet we continue to do the very best we can in spite of that and continue to pursue tirelessly."

Mansur said his office alerted police about Love's warrant after The Star inquired about it, adding he didn't know why Love wasn't arrested at the time of the shooting.

Carol Pepper said the facts were "right there in Case.net" and not difficult to find.

"How can you have that many police officers at your house when you just shot somebody ... and nobody knows you had a warrant?" Peppers asked.

Prosecutors requested a $25,000 bond in the receiving stolen property case, Mansur said.

Love had been placed on probation on the condition that if he completed it successfully, the felony wouldn't remain on his record.

If his probation is revoked, he'll become a felon and will face up to 10 years in prison, Mansur said.

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