Shawnee man allegedly told police he killed MeShon Cooper in anger after HIV threat

Ronald Lee Kidwell is charged with killing MeShon Cooper, whose body was found in a Shawnee home where Kidwell was living..
Ronald Lee Kidwell is charged with killing MeShon Cooper, whose body was found in a Shawnee home where Kidwell was living.. Submitted photos

Ronald Lee Kidwell, the Johnson County man charged with killing MeShon Cooper in what some believe is a hate crime, allegedly told police he did so in anger during an argument.

According to an affidavit provided by the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office, Kidwell told police that Cooper attacked him at his home after threatening to “tell everyone” that he is HIV positive.

After threatening him, Cooper pulled a knife from her purse and hit him in the left hand, causing Kidwell to “flip out” and physically retaliate, Kidwell told police, according to the affidavit. “When I get mad, I make the exorcist look like a bitch,” he said, according to the document said.

Kidwell said that during the fight he gained control of the knife and stabbed Cooper with it, killing her, according to the affidavit.

Kidwell’s statement came after a joint investigation by Shawnee, Lenexa and Kansas City police led officers to Kidwell’s home on July 14.

By that time, officers say their investigation had led them to believe Cooper and Kidwell were “connected” and that phone records had shown that Cooper had visited Kidwell’s house on July 6, the last day she was seen alive, the affidavit said.

While executing a safety search of Kidwell’s home, police say they found “an overwhelming smell of bleach,” that prompted a request for a search warrant, according to the affidavit.

Initially during questioning, Kidwell said he had no knowledge of Cooper’s whereabouts. Then he said she was killed by individuals from Kansas City, according to the affidavit. Finally, he told police he “would never be released from prison” after telling the truth of what happened. Kidwell then told police where to find Cooper’s body — wrapped in trash bags and placed inside of a trashcan in his garage, according to the affidavit.

The killing has bewildered Cooper’s family members, who say their loved one was known for her geniality.

Those who knew Kidwell, however, say the killing — particularly one involving a victim of color — isn’t surprising.

Kidwell’s estranged daughter Carolyn Foster described Kidwell as a “monster” white supremacist with a history of targeting and taking pleasure in assaulting black people.

In 2011, Kidwell was convicted of second-degree assault in Clay County after attacking and sexually assaulting a black woman. He did so without a condom, he told detectives at the time, despite knowing he was HIV positive.

Foster says Kidwell would also show off his swastika tattoo and brag about being a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

Kidwell’s neighbor, Kathleen Brown, called the crime “100 percent a hate crime.”

Neither the local office of the FBI nor local police have committed to calling the incident a hate crime.

Johnson County prosecutors said Monday they could not comment on specifics of the case or whether the killing of Cooper was a possible hate crime.

They did say that all possibilities are being investigated.

Kidwell has been charged with second-degree murder with bail set at $1 million.