Charges will not be filed in the decades-old slaying of a Kansas City civil rights leader in part because the main suspect in the case is dead, the Jackson County prosecutor said.
Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said she has closed the investigation into the death of Leon Jordan, a former Kansas City police officer who was gunned down in 1970. Jordan was also co-founder of the black political club Freedom Inc.
A Kansas City police investigation determined that the main suspect in Jordan's death was James Dearborn, former leader of a Kansas City group known as the "Black Mafia." Dearborn was indicted in the Jordan killing in the early 1970s but was never tried. Dearborn, who denied involvement, was murdered in 1985.
Baker said despite new evidence found by police, who reopened the case last year after a series of articles in The Kansas City Star, she would not bring charges because Dearborn and many witnesses are dead, The Kansas City Star reported Tuesday.
"It would be an impossible prosecution at this point in time, given where people are," she said.
The police investigation found that the Italian mafia and the Black Mafia both appeared to have played a role in the conspiracy that led to Jordan's slaying.
Jordan's politics, association with known criminals and apparent disregard over angering local mobsters may have been among the motives for the mob's involvement in his murder, the police investigation found.
Baker commended police for their work on the case.
"After 15 years as a prosecutor, I know a good murder case when I see one," she said. "And this was really an incredible investigation. They did a phenomenal job putting a 40-year-old murder case together."
Local civil rights activist Alvin Sykes successfully lobbied Police Chief Jim Corwin to reopen the Jordan investigation after stories on the 40th anniversary of his murder appeared in The Star last July.
"While we would have preferred to be able to hold the individuals criminally accountable for their actions," Sykes added, "we take comfort that with the Jordan case we have set the standard."
Saturday, May 25 2013 5:40 PM EDT2013-05-25 21:40:13 GMT
Two people are dead after a helicopter crash north of Springfield, MO. The chopper went down late Friday night in Hickory County. It was owned by Lucas Oil, which operates a speedway in the county. PreliminaryMore >
Two people are dead after a helicopter crash north of Springfield, MO.More >
Saturday, May 25 2013 5:19 PM EDT2013-05-25 21:19:54 GMT
A short police chase following a vehicle running a stop sign ended with a couple being taken to the hospital in handcuffs. Police said they tried to stop a vehicle that had run a stop sign near 55th StreetMore >
A short police chase following a vehicle running a stop sign ended with a couple being taken to the hospital in handcuffs.More >
Saturday, May 25 2013 4:38 PM EDT2013-05-25 20:38:03 GMT
A man dropped off at a police refueling station is in critical condition Saturday. Police said he showed up at the gas station, located at 26th Street and Prospect Avenue, about 1 a.m. with several gunshotMore >
A man dropped off at a police refueling station is in critical condition Saturday.More >
Friday, May 24 2013 9:01 PM EDT2013-05-25 01:01:17 GMT
Strong feelings are funning high one day after the Boy Scouts of America reversed its policy on gay scouts. The decision upset one Kansas City man so much that he decided to make a very personal protest.More >
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Saturday, May 25 2013 2:12 PM EDT2013-05-25 18:12:27 GMT
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Saturday, May 25 2013 1:59 PM EDT2013-05-25 17:59:50 GMT
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A multiple vehicle crash has closed lanes of eastbound Interstate 70 Saturday afternoon.More >
Saturday, May 25 2013 1:41 PM EDT2013-05-25 17:41:59 GMT
Police are investigating after they said a man tried to abduct a woman from a Grandview home. The incident happened Friday about 11:20 p.m. at East 129th Street, just east of US-71 Frontage Road. TheyMore >
Police are investigating after they said a man tried to abduct a woman from a Grandview home.More >
Saturday, May 25 2013 7:00 AM EDT2013-05-25 11:00:14 GMT
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Friday, May 24 2013 7:31 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:31:26 GMT
A nurse who serves on the Kauffman Stadium K-crew was able to revive a 14-year-old girl who collapsed during Thursday night's game.The girl was dancing in the upper-deck stands when she suddenly collapsed.More >
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