Crime

Missouri teen accused of shooting homeless couple over $5 difference in price of pot

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Do you know what to do if you accidentally dial 911? Do you know what information is crucial in an emergency? Here's what you need to know to get the police, fire or ambulance service you need fast.

A homeless man and his wife were shot Friday in a dispute over a $5 difference in the price of some marijuana, according to Jackson County prosecutors.

The husband, 51-year-old Charles Cecil, was killed. His 53-year-old wife was critically injured.

A Liberty teen is charged with murder, accused of shooting the couple in an argument over whether the price of marijuana the victim was selling should be $10 or $15, according to prosecutors.

Joshua Reese, 17, was charged over the weekend with second-degree murder and armed criminal action.

The shooting occurred shortly after 3 a.m. Friday on the steps of the closed Scarritt Elementary School in the 3500 block of Anderson Avenue in Kansas City’s Northeast neighborhood.

According to court documents:

Cecil’s wife said she and her husband had just been evicted from their home and were homeless. They had moved their belongings to a staircase at the school.

She said she was lying under a tarp stretched across a wall of trash bags that contained their belongings while her husband was talking with some people, one of whom they had met earlier in the day.

She then heard her husband say, “What are you going to do, shoot me?”

That was followed by multiple gun shots. The people her husband had been talking to then fled.

When police arrived, they found that the woman had been shot in the arm and had a piece of shrapnel in her face. Her husband was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police recovered 10 rifle shell casings as well as a kitchen knife the man was holding.

Later Friday morning, a 21-year-old man contacted school resource officers at nearby Northeast High School. The man, who lives less than a block away from the scene of the shooting, told the officers he was present at the time of the homicide and asked to be taken to police headquarters in downtown Kansas City.

While being questioned by detectives, the man told police that Reese and three others also were present during the shooting. One of them had an argument with the victim regarding the price of a small amount of marijuana that the victim was selling.

After that initial argument, the group left and went to a nearby home, where one of them said he thought he could get the victim to come down in price — from $15 to $10.

Reese and one of the others allegedly went back to the staircase, the man told police. He said Reese was armed with an AR-15-style rifle.

The victim reached for a kitchen knife and Reese fired several rounds at the victim, the man told police. Everyone then ran to Reese’s car and fled with the rifle.

Later Friday, police arrested Reese and an 18-year-old man at a home in the 300 block of Darrell Court in Liberty.

During questioning by detectives, the man arrested with Reese said he was present during the homicide along with Reese and others. He said when he could see they weren’t getting anywhere regarding the price, he turned and walked away from the group.

He then heard multiple shots, but he didn’t see who fired them. After the shooting, he saw someone else besides Reese holding the firearm. The court document noted that Reese’s mother said the 18-year-old man is close friends with Reese.

When questioned, Reese denied being in the area of the homicide and denied shooting anyone.

Online court records on Sunday did not list an attorney representing Reese who could be reached for comment.

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Robert A. Cronkleton gets up very early in the morning to bring readers breaking news about crime, transportation and weather at the crack of dawn. He’s been at The Star since 1987 and now contributes data reporting and video editing.

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