Kansas City man found guilty in young mother’s shooting death

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Kansas City Crime Stoppers most wanted fugitives updated video updated May 15, 2019.

A 24-year-old Kansas City man has been convicted after he was accused of shooting the mother of his 2-year-old after binding her with duct tape, the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office said in a news release.

A jury found Joseph Gonsalez guilty late Monday of voluntary manslaughter, armed criminal action, child endangerment and attempted armed criminal action. He was initially facing a charge of first-degree murder.

The killing happened Jan. 6, 2018, in the 11100 block of College Avenue in Kansas City.

The body of 19-year-old Elizabeth K. Richards was found on the floor, with a gunshot wound to the head. Her wrists and arms were bound by duct tape, court records said.

Richards had brought her son to visit Gonsalez, who shared custody and lived with his parents at their home on College Avenue.

Gonsalez’s parents weren’t home at the time, but while they were away Gonsalez’s mother called and could hear Gonsalez and Richards arguing, followed by a gunshot, court records said.

Gonsalez’s parents returned to the home to find Richards’ body. The 2-year-old son was found unharmed on the floor near Richards.

Police located Gonsalez about three miles away with a gunshot wound to his abdomen.

Investigators learned that when Gonsalez was found shot, he had been driving a Jeep that belonged to Richards’ father, who had lent it to Richards. Detectives found blood in the Jeep.

Police also obtained surveillance video that showed Gonsalez purchasing duct tape.

After the jury found him guilty of manslaughter earlier this week, it recommended prison sentences of up to 54 years for Gonsalez.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled May 9.

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Kaitlyn Schwers covers breaking news and crime at night for The Kansas City Star. Originally from Willard, Mo., she spent nearly three years reporting in Arkansas and Illinois before returning to Missouri and joining The Star in 2017.