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Jackson County Prosecutor Thanks Witnesses Who Helped Police Make Arrest In Triple Homicide

Elle Moxley
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, along with Kansas City Police officers John Randle, Tom Dearing and David Lindaman, announces charges in a South Kansas City triple homicide.

The Jackson County Prosecutor has charged a 22-year-old Kansas City man in last week’s triple homicide.

Jean Peters Baker says multiple witnesses linked Joseph L. Nelson to the Sept. 8 murders of Bianca Fletcher, her 1-year-old son and boyfriend, Shannon Rollins.

“Nelson told one witness that quote -‘Other things had to be done’ after he shot Bianca,” Peters Baker said Thursday at a press conference. “After shooting all three victims, he cleared the room of shell casings, and the firearm was later sold.”

Nelson was taken into custody Wednesday morning. Bond is set at $1 million.

After announcing charges against Nelson, a visibly emotional Peters Baker added, “I have a few other messages. For those who say witnesses don’t come forward, you’re wrong. For those that confuse a witness and a snitch, you’re wrong. They’re heroes.”

Peters Baker thanked Kansas City Police detectives and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents for aiding in the investigation.

Nelson reported two guns stolen from his car the morning of Sept. 9, though a witness told investigators the accused actually sold the guns the night of the murders.

“This was a heinous crime,” said John Ham of the ATF. “Every homicide is a heinous crime. Any time we lose a member of our community senselessly it’s not acceptable.”

Peters Baker confirmed Fletcher and Nelson had a previous relationship but could not say if he was the father of the murdered child, identified in court documents as “J.F.”

Kansas City has seen a spike in homicides in recent weeks - 68 so far this year, compared to 80 in all of 2014.

“They were already referred to as three more numbers. Three more homicide numbers,” said Peters Baker. “They’re not numbers. They’re people. They’re real people.”

The victims’ families issued statements thanking police for bringing them some measure of justice.

“Each of us needs to teach our kids how to solve problems without senseless violence,” Rollins’ parents wrote, “without resorting to a gun.”

Elle Moxley covered education for KCUR.
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