Shon Pernice pleads guilty to voluntary manslaughter - KCTV5

Shon Pernice pleads guilty to voluntary manslaughter

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Shon Pernice admitted to killing his wife. Shon Pernice admitted to killing his wife.
Clay County Prosecutor Dan White surrounded by Renee Pernice's family, media Clay County Prosecutor Dan White surrounded by Renee Pernice's family, media
Renee Pernice disappeared in January 2009. Renee Pernice disappeared in January 2009.

Shon Pernice says the remains of his missing wife will never be found.

On Tuesday afternoon, Shon Pernice entered a plea of guilty to voluntary manslaughter in connection with the death of his wife, Renee Pernice. He faces five to 15 years in prison.

Shon Pernice says the two were fighting when he hit her in the head. He says Renee Pernice fell down the steps and was fatally injured.

Defense attorneys told police where Shon Pernice disposed of Renee Pernice's remains but said they won't be recovered.

Prosecutor Dan White says Renee Pernice's remains were tossed out in the trash. He said unfortunately it will be impossible "to give a proper Christian burial."

"It was satisfying to know he finally stood up and admitted it," he said.

Renee Pernice's mother, Linda Lockwood, became emotional in discussing her sadness and happiness that her son in law admitted to the murder. 

"There is no doubt in anyone's mind now," Lockwood said. "Although, there never was in ours."

Shon Pernice's first-degree murder trial was scheduled to start Monday morning.

Supreme Court ruling could throw wrench in Shon Pernice murder trial

Family members of Renee Pernice and investigators were asked to attend the hearing, which was called on short notice Tuesday. Boxes of tissues were passed out to Renee Pernice's family members.

Renee Pernice disappeared in January 2009. Authorities and her family immediately focused on her husband, an Independence firefighter.

Records showed Shon Pernice used his key card early the morning of Jan. 3 to gain access to a fire station that he wasn't assigned to in Independence. That fire station contained cleaning materials to deal with a hazardous chemical spill.

Shon Pernice's daughter was prepared to testify next week that her half brothers, Renee and Shon Pernice's sons, cried for their mother.

"Stop calling. She's never coming back," Shon Pernice yelled back, prosecutors said.

Friends and co-workers are upset that Shon Pernice doesn't face more time in prison. He was indicted in May 2010 by a Clay County grand jury and will get credit for time served.

He also pleaded guilty to two counts of child endangerment. He admitted to driving drunk while his two sons were passengers in his vehicle.

Lockwood said she accepts that Pernice won't spend his life behind bars. Sentencing will be in May.

"It will never be enough," she said.

A judge was set to rule Thursday afternoon on key pre-trial motions.

A judge heard hours of arguments over recent weeks including whether it was constitutional to put a GPS tracker on the car that Shon Pernice was driving and, additionally, get tracking information from his cell phone in the days after Renee's disappearance.

Pernice's defense attorney was confident that a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision would allow the information gathered from the GPS devices to be barred from the trial.

Use of GPS devices questioned in Shon Pernice case

One of the most damning pieces of evidence against Shon Pernice is that Kansas City police officers say they spotted him releasing the family dog in a park just days after his wife went missing. The officers had Shon Pernice under surveillance and retrieved the dog before he took off.

The GPS device apparently was used to gather this.

Shon Pernice's attorneys also argued against admitting into evidence information that they believe would prejudice jurors against their client. This includes Shon Pernice's gambling at local casinos, his online dating, financial problems and extensive gun collection.

Eric Vernon, Shon Pernice's attorney, said Pernice made two tragic errors. Vernon said his client did not intend to kill his wife, but struck her in a manner to call serious injury. And then he tried to cover up the evidence.

Shon Pernice is now taking the first steps to admitting responsibility, Vernon said. He said his client has been thinking of a plea deal for some time.

Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.)  All rights reserved.

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Shon Pernice is accused of killing his wife, whose body has never been found. Renee Pernice disappeared in January 2009. Authorities and her family believe her husband, an Independence firefighter, killed More>>

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