Crime

Brookside murder suspect David Jungerman appears in court in Kansas City

David Jungerman, suspect in Brookside attorney killing, appears in court

David Jungerman, charged in the killing of Kansas City attorney Tom Pickert outside his Brookside home, appeared Thursday, May 3, 2018, in Jackson County Circuit Court.
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David Jungerman, charged in the killing of Kansas City attorney Tom Pickert outside his Brookside home, appeared Thursday, May 3, 2018, in Jackson County Circuit Court.

David Jungerman, the 80-year-old Raytown man accused of killing Kansas City attorney Tom Pickert, appeared Thursday in Jackson County Circuit Court and requested a preliminary hearing.

Jungerman, a multimillionaire farmer and baby furniture maker, is charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action, accused of shooting Pickert last fall.

He is being held without bond in the Jackson County Detention Center.

It is unusual in Jackson County for an attorney to request a preliminary hearing, where prosecutors present testimony to a judge, who then determines whether there is enough evidence to continue holding the suspect for trial.

Such hearings are rarely held in Jackson County and it appears doubtful one will occur in Jungerman's case. Prosecutors have the option of instead seeking a grand jury indictment, which would not require a preliminary hearing.

Jungerman is scheduled to appear in court again on June 11. His attorneys, Dan Ross and Nicole Forsythe, said Jungerman will continue to plead not guilty.

"Mr. Jungerman maintains his innocence," Forsythe said.

Prosecutors charged Jungerman with murder on April 11, after a police investigation that spanned months and at times appeared to have grown cold. Kansas City police in November said Jungerman was not a suspect.

Pickert was fatally shot in broad daylight on the morning of Oct. 25 in front of his Brookside home, just after walking his two sons to school.

Police soon learned that Pickert, a personal injury lawyer, had recently won a $5.75 million judgment against Jungerman in a civil lawsuit over Jungerman's shooting of a man at a building Jungerman owns in Northeast Kansas City.

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The case broke open after police arrested Jungerman in another shooting on March 8. In that incident, Jungerman was accused of firing a handgun during a confrontation with two people he suspected of stealing iron pipe from his building.

Jungerman has acknowledged shooting four men at that building in two separate incidents in 2012. In both cases, Jungerman said the men were stealing copper and he acted in self-defense.

In the Pickert murder investigation, police said they found a recording of Jungerman talking about the killing. Police searching Jungerman's vehicle also reported finding an unusual .17-caliber bullet similar to that used to kill Pickert.

Defense lawyer Dan Ross talks about the charges against David Jungerman, who is accused of killing Kansas City attorney Tom Pickert in Brookside. Jungerman pleaded not guilty via video in court Thursday.

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