Crime

FBI investigating killing of black woman in Shawnee as possible hate crime

The FBI is investigating the killing of a black woman in Shawnee as a possible hate crime, a spokeswoman said Tuesday.

MeShon Cooper, 43, of Kansas City, was found dead July 14 inside a residence in the 11400 block of 69th Street in Shawnee about a week after she had been reported missing.

Ronald Lee Kidwell, the 47-year-old man who lives at the home, is charged in Johnson County District Court with second-degree murder in Cooper’s death.

Two family members and a neighbor who spoke to The Star described Kidwell as a white supremacist who had assaulted black people in the past.

The FBI said on Tuesday that it was now investigating the killing to determine if it was a hate crime.

The FBI said it is cooperating in the investigation with local law enforcement agencies.

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Unlike federal law, Kansas does not have a specific hate crime statute.

According to documents released Monday in Johnson County District Court, Kidwell allegedly told police he killed Cooper after she threatened to tell people he was HIV-positive.

He told police that the killing was not premeditated.

Kidwell told detectives that he punched Cooper multiple times and stabbed her in the neck with a knife that he wrestled away from her.

The court documents do not address how Kidwell and Cooper knew each other.

Kidwell is being held in the Johnson County Jail. His bond is set at $1 million.

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