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Police Reopen 40-year-old Unsolved Murder of Political Leader Leon Jordan


Kansas City, MO – This summer, Kansas City Missouri police re-opened an unsolved murder case from 40 years ago. The victim was one of their own: former police lieutenant and state representative Leon Jordan. Jordan was gunned down outside his tavern on July 15, 1970.

Jordan was a key figure in the local civil rights movement, and helped consolidate black political power in Kansas City.

Over the years, there's been many theories about who killed Leon Jordan, and some concern that dredging up the case could tarnish his legacy.

In the first part of a two-part series, KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross and Susan B. Wilson examine the impetus for re-opening the case and the possible motives for the murder. Hear from Kansas City Star investigative reporter Mike McGraw, legal activist Alvin Sykes, and Alvin Brooks, former mayor pro tem, police officer and founder of the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime.

Click here to hear part two of KC Currents' story on potential motives for Leon Jordan's murder.

Stories about the Leon Jordan murder in the Kansas City Star by Mike McGraw and Glenn Rice helped convince police to re-investigate the case. Read them here:
Unsolved killing echoes civil rights era
The missing gun turns up -- in use by the police

This story was produced for KC Currents. To listen on your own schedule, subscribe to the KC Currents Podcast.

A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Susan admits that her “first love” was radio, being an avid listener since childhood. However, she spent much of her career in mental health, healthcare administration, and sports psychology (Susan holds a PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Bloch School of Business at UMKC.) In the meantime, Wilson satisfied her journalistic cravings by doing public speaking, providing “expert” interviews for local television, and being a guest commentator/contributor to KPRS’s morning drive time show and the teen talk show “Generation Rap.”
Sylvia Maria Gross is storytelling editor at KCUR 89.3. Reach her on Twitter @pubradiosly.
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