Police to reopen 40-year-old cold case - KCTV5 News

Police to reopen 40-year-old cold case

Black political leader Leon Jordan was shot and killed 40 years ago, but there is a new push to solve the murder mystery.
Two pieces of evidence have resurfaced leading detectives to reopen one of the city's oldest cold cases. The front page of The Kansas City Star from July 15, 1970, shows a headline reflecting a crime that outraged the city, and 40 years later Jordan's killer remains at large.
"Everyone was so upset when it happened," said Lloyd Degraffenreid, a retired Kansas City, Mo., police officer.
A former police sergeant, the 91-year-old Degraffenreid said he can't shake the memories of the unsolved case.
"Boy, you couldn't get anyone to say anything," he said.
Degraffenreid said he was one of the first officers on the scene to see his friend, Jordan, shot dead. Jordan was a former police officer, a state representative and civil right leader.
On Thursday, Kansas City police reopened the case. A freedom of information request showed evidence was missing. The murder weapon was recently found, and it turns out police were using it on the streets.
The Kansas City Star reported that a decision to reopen the 1970 case comes after police rediscovered the likely murder weapon -- in one of the department's patrol cars.
Police spokesman Rich Lockhart said Police Chief Jim Corwin decided to reopen the case after discussing it with Kansas City civil rights leader Alvin Sykes and others.
Jordan was a former Kansas City police officer and co-founder of the black political club Freedom Inc. He was shot to death three weeks before a Democratic primary in 1970 in which he was running for re-election to a seat in the Legislature.
"The biggest question is how does a murder weapon go from this point to this point," said Lockhart. "We've looked and we don't have an answer. We do have processes now that it would not happen."
Sykes urged the police chief to reopen the case now that the gun and fingerprints have been found.
"There's no shame in making mistakes," Sykes said. "The only shame is refusal or resistance to correct the mistake."
Degraffenreid said there was a slaying a week after Jordan was killed, and he said he's often felt it was connected but nothing has ever stuck.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the TIPS hot line.

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