Kansas City man pleads guilty to murder in fatal shooting of 4-year-old LeGend Taliferro




  • In US
  • 2022-12-03 00:11:18Z
  • By Kansas City Star

A Kansas City man admitted in court to firing bullets into a Kansas City apartment in June 2020 in an act that killed 4-year-old LeGend Taliferro, a boy whose death sparked outrage across Kansas City and led to a federal crime crackdown initiative.

Ryson B. Ellis, 24, entered guilty pleas to second-degree felony murder, armed criminal action and unlawful use of a deadly weapon during a hearing on Friday afternoon in Jackson County Circuit Court. Ellis was sentenced to spend up to 22 years in Missouri prison.

Under the terms of his guilty pleas, Ellis was sentenced to serve 20 years for murder, three years for armed criminal action and 22 years for unlawful use of a weapon. His sentences were set to run concurrently. His murder conviction carries a minimum prison stay of 17 years.

Addressing the judge directly, Ellis spoke in brief statements, answering in the affirmative or negative, as he was advised of his rights and questioned by Judge Charles H. McKenzie. His prison sentence was part of a plea agreement struck between Ellis' public defenders and Jackson County prosecutors.

The shooting of LeGend unfolded in the early hours of June 29, 2020 at an apartment complex in Kansas City's Citadel neighborhood. Police officers were called to the scene around 2:30 a.m. on a report of a shooting involving a juvenile victim.

Detectives and crime-scene personnel learned the gunshots were fired from behind a privacy fence and that the bullets entered through a first-floor apartment's glass sliding doors. LeGend was asleep inside when he was mortally wounded.

Witness statements and some anonymous tips led detectives to land on Ellis as a suspect. Ellis has a child in common with a relative of LeGend who had recently sought an order of protection against him and was staying in the apartment the night of the shooting.

Ellis was arrested a few weeks later in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He has spent the past two years in the Jackson County jail.

As he was escorted to and from the courtroom, Ellis made no statements to news reporters. When he was being brought back to the Jackson County jail, where he will stay until his transfer to Missouri prison, his defense attorney Laura O'Sullivan declined comment on his behalf.

On Friday, the courtroom was packed with family members of the young boy, family members who came to watch guilty pleas and the sentencing unfold. Some brought photographs of LeGend printed out on sheets of paper, and waved them to news cameras stationed beside the elevators in the downtown courthouse's fifth floor.

Among those speaking in court were the parents of LeGend, Raphael Taliferro and Charron Powell.

Over the past two years, Powell recalled watching videos of her son just so she could hear him call her "mommy." She said she has long wondered what she would say when the moment came to address the court when Ellis was convicted.

"Honestly, what do you say when the best part of you is taken?" she said, adding: "I miss my son so much."

Raphael Taliferro recalled being at the apartment the night gunfire struck his son. He offered a brief statement as he looked across the room directly at Ellis: "God going to forgive you, but I'm not."

During a brief press conference outside the courtroom on Friday, family members stood beside Jackson County prosecutors to discuss the outcome two-and-a-half years after that night.

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Theresa Crayon said the conviction and sentencing stands as an example of an outcome where community assistance with police and prosecutors helped to resolve a "very tragic case."

In 2020, outrage over LeGend's killing spurred a federal anti-crime initiative called Operation LeGend, leading to several arrests in various cases. U.S. Attorney General William Barr announced the movement at a press conference in Kansas City, saying it was "flattening the curve" of crime in the city.

Powell, speaking to the federal initiative on Friday, said she and the family felt that LeGend had been honored by the new movement to solve violent crimes. But she also noted many remain unsolved, and "we still have a long way to go."

"We want to continue to help other people," Powell said, adding that the events that led to her son's death stemmed from one person expressing anger through violence.

"We as a community, and for LeGend's legacy, I want to help people learn how to control their anger so they won't make a mistake like this. Because in reality, he has kids, he has a family that he won't be able to enjoy. And we lost our son."

COMMENTS

More Related News

Police investigate three rapes reported in Manhattan, Kansas on Saturday
Police investigate three rapes reported in Manhattan, Kansas on Saturday
  • US
  • 2023-01-31 05:05:04Z

Two of the assaults were part of a single report made by women ages 20 and 21. In that case, police had a 32-year-old suspect known to the two victims.

Super Bowl LVII features an Andy Reid reunion and a battle between brothers
Super Bowl LVII features an Andy Reid reunion and a battle between brothers

Andy Reid has emerged victorious the last six times the Eagles and Chiefs have squared off. Will he prevail again in Super Bowl LVII?

Chiefs re-sign WR Jerrion Ealy to practice squad, release K Matthew Wright
Chiefs re-sign WR Jerrion Ealy to practice squad, release K Matthew Wright

The #Chiefs have re-signed WR Jerrion Ealy to the practice squad and released K Matthew Wright.

Benglas linebacker Germaine Pratt: "Why the f-k would you touch the quarterback?"
Benglas linebacker Germaine Pratt: "Why the f-k would you touch the quarterback?"

Multiple teammates consoled Bengals linebacker Joseph Ossai after he drew a late hit penalty that put the Chiefs in position for a field goal that delivered a Super Bowl berth for Kansas City. One teammate in particular was not pleased. Linebacker Germaine Pratt was yelling on the way to the locker room about the foul. [more]

Chiefs DE Frank Clark can ascend sack leaderboard, hit contract incentive vs. Bengals
Chiefs DE Frank Clark can ascend sack leaderboard, hit contract incentive vs. Bengals

#Chiefs DE Frank Clark has $500K, a spot on the all-time playoff sack leaderboard and a trip to the Super Bowl on the line vs. the #Bengals. | from @TheJohnDillon

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: US