© 2024 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Jury Finds Kansas City Man Guilty For Sexually Abusing And Murdering His Teen Daughter

Courtesy of Wasiba Hamad
Daizsa Bausby, front, was found smothered to death in a motel room in March 2016. Monday, a jury found her father, Jerry Bausby, guilty of second-degree murder, incest, first-degree sodomy and first-degree sexual abuse.

Monday evening, three years after the killing of Southwest high school senior Daizsa Bausby, a Jackson County jury found her father guilty of her murder. 

In March 2016, Daizsa, 18, was found dead in a South Kansas City motel room. Her body also had multiple scrapes to the forehead, neck, lips and nose, and was "improperly dressed" as though she someone else had put clothes on the body, according to the medical examiner. That medical examiner also performed a sexual assault forensic exam, or "rape kit."

Charges weren't filed until six months later, after DNA linked Daizsa's father, Jerry Bausby, to her death.

On Monday, the jury found him guilty on four counts — second-degree murder, first-degree sexual abuse, first-degree sodomy and incest.

Credit Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3
KCUR 89.3
After Southwest High's final graduation ceremony before the school closed in 2016, the crowds of graduates, family and friends gathered outside. At the center of the crowd were balloons for Daizsa Bausby.

Many close to Daizsa said they suspected right away that her death came at the hands of her father. Court documents dating back to 1994 reveal an extensive criminal record for Jerry Bausby, including a history of substance abuse and several drunk driving misdemeanors.

Throughout the four-day trial, prosecutors leaned on video surveillance from the motel and a nearby convenience store. They also cited DNA evidence, which assistant prosecuting attorney Jill Icenhower said was undeniable. According to the medical examiner, Jerry Bausby's DNA was in his daughter's mouth and anus, and her DNA was found on his genitals.

"Every place we look, we find the defendant," Icenhower said. "His DNA was all over Daizsa."

In closing arguments, defense attorney Gara Feldman-Gary said there was insufficient evidence to prove Jerry Bausby killed his daughter. She even went so far as to argue that what happened, before Daizsa was killed that night, was "consensual."

"Why would she drive with her father to a motel if she didn’t want to have a consensual sexual relationship with him? ... Why would she remain there for hours if she didn't want to be there?" Feldman-Gary asked the jury. "Most teens would probably go there to get drugs or alcohol. She was going there to have a secret rendezvous with her dad."

"She’s not a victim," the defense attorney said. "She was a willing participant.”

With the final word for the jury Monday, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker held up photographs of the injured body of the slain 18-year-old in the motel room bed. Her voice and hands shook. Her face turned red. 

Daizsa was ready to soar. He knocked her down, and she never got back up.

"This is not consent," Baker nearly shouted.

Baker said Daizsa was "brutally sodomized," that she "endured the horror of her father on top of her."

The cause of death was ruled asphyxia by smothering.

Baker took out her phone Monday, and started a clock. The court sat in piercing silence for 30 seconds — the amount of time it typically takes for someone to lose consciousness from smothering. It takes another 3-5 minutes for that person to die, Baker said.

"That is how long she fought. It's a long time to go without a breath," Baker said, after slamming her phone down. 

During her short life, Daizsa made a significant impact on her community. She was at the top of her class at Southwest Early College Campus, an honor student just weeks from graduating, already with enough credits for an associate's degree from Penn Valley Metropolitan Community College, where she was enrolled in an early college program. 

"Daizsa was ready to soar," Baker said Monday.

Jerry Bausby remained mostly unfazed throughout the trial, but at that, he hung his head, however briefly.

"He knocked her down, and she never got back up," Baker said.

Bausby's sentencing was set for September. 

Andrea Tudhope is a reporter at KCUR 89.3. Email her at andreat@kcur.org, and follow her on Twitter @andreatudhope

Andrea Tudhope is an award-winning multimedia journalist based in Kansas City, Missouri. She is currently coordinating producer for America Amplified, a national public media community engagement initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. 
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
Your donation helps keep nonprofit journalism free and available for everyone.