Crime

Olathe East student killed when $8 Xanax deal fell through: newly released court docs

Seventeen-year-old Olathe East High School student Rowan Padgett was killed when an $8 drug deal involving an anxiety and panic disorder medication fell through, according to a newly released court document.

An affidavit released Monday describes evidence against Matthew Lee Bibee Jr. and gives a glimpse of what investigators think led up to the the March 29 shooting death of Padgett in the 12300 block of South Mullen Court in Olathe. Padgett died at the scene.

Prosecutors have charged three teens with first-degree felony murder: Bibee, 18, Jordan A. Denny, 16, and Rolland Robert Kobelo, 17.

In Kansas, a person can be charged with first-degree felony murder even if they did not pull the trigger in a shooting. They can be charged if a homicide occurs during the commission of an inherently dangerous felony.

The charges allege Padgett was killed during a drug deal or robbery, but for months little information has been available about what exactly happened.

Bibee also has been charged with attempted capital murder, attempted first-degree murder, attempted aggravated robbery, battery against a law enforcement officer and battery. Those charges relate to a March 31 attempted robbery and allegations he shot at and missed a police officer after being sought for two days as a person of interest in Padgett’s death.

According to the new affidavit:

On the afternoon of March 29 Padgett went to Denny’s house on South Mullen Court. Surveillance video from the house showed Padgett arriving at 3:30 p.m.

Denny was on a Facetime call with two other juveniles, including one with the initials R.K., she allegedly told police. She let Padgett in and he also spoke with them.

Denny allegedly said that Padgett told R.K. that he was high on MDMA/Molly, which is also known as Ecstasy, and that he had more on him. During the conversation, R.K. told Denny and Padgett that he had a friend named “Matt Matt” who was looking to purchase some Xanax bars. Matt Matt was later identified by a witness as Bibee.

Denny didn’t have any Xanax, but she could get some, she said. Bibee agreed to buy two bars of Xanax from Denny for $8. Denny sent her address for him to pick it up.

While Denny made arrangements to get the Xanax, Padgett asked her if they could have sex. Denny told him no and to leave.

Padgett left, but walked up and down the street, allegedly occasionally banging on the front door and asking to come back inside, according to Denny. Surveillance camera video showed Padgett leaving the house and returning.

After kicking Padgett out, Denny later told police, she got a response from her source of Xanax. The source wasn’t available and she called off the deal.

But Bibee already arrived. The surveillance video showed a black Toyota Prius pull up in front of the house. Padgett approached it.

Padgett returned to Denny’s front door and told her that the people in the car needed to speak with her. Denny replied that she didn’t have anything to sell and they needed to leave because her dad had called police. She also told Padgett to leave with them, she later told investigators.

She saw Padgett get into the backseat of the car. Watching from her bedroom window, Denny then saw Padgett get out of the car and collapse on the ground. The Prius sped away.

Surveillance video showed Denny’s father arriving home at 5 p.m. Padgett’s body was motionless in the driveway next door. Police arrived a minute later.

Denny told police she called R.K. and she heard laughing when she said Bibee’s guys had beaten Padgett unconscious. After briefly talking to police when they arrived, she called R.K again and he allegedly said he was “already aware that his friends may have killed” Padgett.

A detective called R.K., who said he had arranged for a person named “M & M” to buy Xanax from Denny because she allegedly “always had pills.” R.K. allegedly admitted to arranging the drug deal.

Detectives also interviewed two witnesses in the car at the time of the shooting. One was the driver of the Prius. They had gone to police with attorneys and agreed to speak once provided proffer letters, which provided limited immunity. One of the witnesses identified “Matt Matt” as Bibee.

One witness said he drove Bibee to the house in Olathe. The driver said Padgett got in the backseat with Bibee, who asked about Padgett’s backpack. The driver then heard a disturbance and a single gunshot. Padgett got out of the car without his phone and backpack and Bibee told him to “drive.”

The driver told police that after dropping Bibee off, he and the other witness looked into the backseat and saw a bullet hole. They also found a bullet casing in the backseat.

They went to a Walmart in Raytown, where they purchased tape to cover up the bullet hole. On their way in, they tossed the casing in a trash can outside a Subway.

The casing was later recovered by law enforcement during a search. Police also found a bullet core from the backseat of the Prius.

The Johnson County crime lab later confirmed the bullet core and the casing were fired from the same handgun Bibee allegedly used when he fired at the police officer.

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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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