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Published On: Fri, Aug 2nd, 2019

Shawn Burkhalter and Joshua Nesbitt Charged in Witness Tampering, Murder, Drug Trafficking

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri has filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty against two men previously charged in two area murders.

Shawn Burkhalter, also known as “Deuce,” 30, of Kansas City, Missouri, and Joshua Nesbitt, also known as “T,” 25, of Crowder, Mississippi, were indicted last year for the murders of Anthony Dwayne Johnson and Danny Lamont Dean. On Tuesday, July 30, the government filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty against Burkhalter and Nesbitt.

The notice of intent states that the government believes a sentence of death is justified for Johnson’s murder in furtherance of an evidence-tampering conspiracy, for Johnson’s murder as a potential witness, and for Johnson’s murder in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime. The notice also states that the government believes a sentence of death is justified for Dean’s murder in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Each of those four counts of the indictment carry a possible sentence of death.

Photo/Steve Buissinne

Murder of Anthony Dwayne Johnson

The federal indictment alleges that Burkhalter and Nesbitt shot and killed Johnson on Oct. 4, 2015, using a Rock River Arms AR-15 5.56-caliber semi-automatic rifle.

Burkhalter and Nesbitt are charged together in one count of murdering a potential witness. The indictment alleges that Johnson’s murder occurred in order to prevent his testimony and to prevent him from communicating with law enforcement.

Burkhalter and Nesbitt also are charged together with participating in a witness- and evidence-tampering conspiracy that resulted in Johnson’s murder. Their objective, the indictment says, was to kill or at least intimidate and threaten Johnson to prevent his testimony and to prevent him from communicating with law enforcement. They also allegedly threatened to kill another person, identified as “Witness #1,” to cause that person to help conceal the AR-15 rifle used to murder Johnson and Dean, so that it could not be used as evidence.

Burkhalter and Nesbitt also are charged together with using a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a drug-trafficking crime. The indictment alleges that Johnson’s murder occurred during a robbery of marijuana from an apartment.

Murder of Danny Lamont Dean

The indictment alleges that Burkhalter and Nesbitt shot and killed Dean on Sept. 10, 2015, while robbing him of cocaine. They allegedly used the same AR-15 rifle. Burkhalter and Nesbitt are charged together in one count of using a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a drug-trafficking crime.

Superseding Indictment

Burkhalter and Nesbitt were originally charged in a Feb. 21, 2018, federal indictment. A federal grand jury in Kansas City, Missouri, returned a superseding indictment on Tuesday, July 30, 2019, that contains two additional charges against Burkhalter and Nesbitt. The superseding indictment also charges an additional defendant.

The superseding indictment charges Burkhalter and Nesbitt with evidence tampering (related to the conspiracy) and charges Burkhalter with witness tampering. Burkhalter, while in pretrial detention after his arrest, allegedly threatened a person identified as “Witness #2” by using another detainee to pass a message to Witness #2, who was being held at a different detention facility.

Anthony Peltier, also known as “A-1,” 37, of Lawrence, Kansas, is also charged in the superseding indictment, along with the original co-defendants – Sharika Hooker, 30, and Autry Hines, also known as “Bud,” 28, both of Kansas City, Mo.; Nickayla Jones, also known as “Red,” 24, of Blue Springs, Mo.; and Rachel Ryce, 31, of Raytown, Mo. Co-defendant Joslyn Lee, also known as “Bless,” 27, of Blue Springs, has already pleaded guilty and therefore is not charged in the superseding indictment.

The superseding indictment retains the original charges against several co-defendants. Jones, Hines, and Ryce are charged with participating with Burkhalter and Nesbitt in the witness and evidence-tampering conspiracy that resulted in Johnson’s murder. Jones, Hines, Ryce, Hooker, and Peltier are charged together with being accessories after the fact of Johnson’s murder. The indictment alleges they assisted Burkhalter and Nesbitt by, among other things, taking steps to hide or destroy evidence pertaining to the murder of Johnson.

Drug-Trafficking Conspiracy

Six of the seven defendants – Burkhalter, Nesbitt, Jones, Hines, Ryce and Peltier – are charged with participating in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana from 2008 to Feb. 20, 2018.

In addition to the conspiracy, Burkhalter and Nesbitt are charged together with one count of possessing cocaine (which they allegedly stole from Dean) with the intent to distribute on Sept. 10, 2015.

Burkhalter and Nesbitt also are charged together with one count of discharging a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime, related to the discharge of the AR-15 rifle in furtherance of the drug-traffficking conspiracy and the possession of cocaine to distribute.

Burkhalter, Nesbitt, Jones, Hines and Ryce also are charged together with possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute on Oct. 4, 2015. The indictment alleges that they intended to sell a quantity of the marijuana they robbed from Johnson on that date. They are also charged together in one count of discharging a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime.

Armed Robbery

Burkhalter and Nesbitt are charged together in one count with robbing a Kansas City, Mo., business on Sept. 8, 2015, and in one count with brandishing a firearm (the same AR-15 rifle) in furtherance of a crime of violence. Burkhalter and Nesbitt are also charged together in one count of being felons in possession of a firearm.

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