Home invasion suspect just released from prison - KCTV5 News

Home invasion suspect just released from prison

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One of the four men charged in Friday's home invasion in south Kansas City was just released from federal prison. Although that is his only conviction, Marlyn Standifer has been implicated in drug- and gang-related violence since he was 16 years old.

In Friday's case, Standifer is accused of pulling a gun on a man taking out his trash and forcing him inside a neighbor's home with the intent of robbing the neighbor. That man and the would-be robbers exchanged fire. The man who had been used as a shield to gain access to the home took four bullets. The suspects led police on an 80-mph chase before prosecutors say Standifer and three others were taken into custody.

If you look at court records, they would indicate that Friday was the first time Standifer faced a felony charge in Missouri.

The only conviction on Standifer's record is a federal weapons charge. He was released from the U.S. prison in Leavenworth on Sept. 5.

But Standifer has been the suspect in killings, shootings and drug crimes for nearly a decade. He is just 25 years old.

One of the murders occurred in circumstances similar to what police allege happened on Friday in south Kansas City. Police believed that drugs and money were involved in all of the deaths.

Kansas City police once called Standifer one of the department's most wanted fugitives because of his involvement in gang-related violence, according to an article in the Kansas City Star. His brother was one of the east side's most notorious criminals before he was fatally shot in 2011.

When Standifer was arrested in 2007 for fatally shooting a man, police said that Standifer had a gang tattoo on his neck and was wearing a jacket that said, "Felons with guns. One will get you five. None will get you killed."

Two of the three murder charges filed against Standifer have been dismissed by prosecutors. Standifer was convicted of first-degree murder in a third case, but that conviction was thrown out when another man claimed responsibility.

A jury acquitted Standifer last August in that third case. Prosecutors could not question the man who originally fingered Standifer and then said he was the triggerman because he was killed almost a year before the retrial.

On Tuesday, KCTV5 asked the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office about the dismissals in the two murder cases. Mike Mansur, spokesman for Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, said Tuesday that he couldn't immediately say why those two murder charges were dismissed. He said the records weren't immediately available because the dismissed cases were so long ago and considered closed.

One of the prosecutors on one of the cases is no longer with the office. That prosecutor was accused of prosecutorial misconduct and convictions involving deaths, including a high-profile murder case, were tossed as a result. Mansur didn't know if that affected any of Standifer's cases.

Standifer was first accused of murder when he was just 16 years old.

On June 21, 2004, Ronald Taylor was shot to death inside a vehicle in an apparent robbery attempt, police said. Police accused Standifer and another man of the crime. Standifer was certified to stand trial as an adult. The charges were second-degree murder, first-degree assault and two armed criminal action charges.

All those charges would be dismissed by 2007, which is when police named Standifer as one of the biggest problems with gang violence in Kansas City.

Kansas City police believed that Standifer was the triggerman when Randy D. Atkinson, 33, a father of several young children, was found shot to death in the early morning hours of Jan. 21, 2007. Atkinson was lying in the snow in a Kansas City street.

Police were actively seeking Standifer on warrants for Atkinson's murder and other violent crimes when Standifer allegedly was part of a botched kidnapping-for-ransom in mid-April 2007. Several men including Standifer allegedly kidnapped a man and demanded $50,000 from his brother. The kidnapped man, who had been tied up, managed to get free and shoot one of his kidnappers.

That man did not face any charges in the death, but those who were involved in the kidnapping faced second-degree murder charges because the death occurred in the commission of a crime.

The other two men were later convicted of murder, but prosecutors dismissed Standifer's murder charge.

A month before that the botched kidnapping, Standifer had drugs and a .357-revolver on him, according to an indictment from a federal grand jury.

On March 5, 2008, a federal judge sentenced Standifer to five years in prison for being a drug user in possession of a firearm. The judge also said that he would have to serve three years' probation once he completed his sentence.

That wasn't his only felony conviction.

On Oct. 22, 2009, a jury found Standifer guilty of first-degree murder and armed criminal action in connection with Atkinson's death. A Jackson County circuit court judge sentenced Standifer to life in prison for the murder conviction and 100 years for the armed criminal action conviction.

During the sentencing phase, Markus D. Lee told the judge that he was Standifer's brother and asked the judge to toss the conviction. Lee told the judge that the jury shouldn't have believed the testimony of "a jailhouse rat," and his brother didn't receive a fair trial.

Lee himself was one of the east side's most notorious gang members in part because as the Pitch said in their profile of Lee, "Only 26, beat three murder charges in eight years."

In his interview with the weekly, Lee said, "I'm not trying to tell you I have a halo and angel wings. I might have half a wing. I'm not disputing that I'm a street dude, but I'm not this monster they try to say I am. Does it make me a bad guy because I'm from where I'm from?"

When he was 27 years old, Lee was killed in Kansas City, KS, in October 2011. This came just two weeks after he had been released from prison after being convicted of leading police on a high-speed chase.

That same year, Standifer saw his first-degree murder conviction overturned by a Missouri appeals court.

A man who was with Standifer the night of Atkinson's death had come forward to say he was the one who shot Atkinson. Marlawn Chaney wrote that he had found God and said that his prior statements had been coerced by police.

"I made a statement that was a lie. I am ready to tell the truth," he scrawled on lined paper he got at a Missouri prison.

He said he shot Atkinson because he thought Atkinson wasn't going to pay for crack cocaine that he been given. He added that Standifer wasn't at the crime scene.

"I was high that night, but I can't let my friend down for something I did," Chaney wrote.

Defense attorneys said in their pleadings that there were no eyewitnesses to place Standifer at the crime scene and no physical evidence directly tying him to the murder.

"The case against Mr. Standifer was largely circumstantial," defense attorneys argued.

The Missouri Attorney General's Office argued the state's case was strong, but agreed to a retrial because of Chaney's statement. The appeals court in February 2011 ordered a new trial.

That retrial happened last summer. In August 2012, a jury found Standifer not guilty of second-degree murder and armed criminal action.

Despite his confession, Chaney was been charged in connection with Atkinson's death. He was found shot to death on the porch of a vacant Kansas City house in September 2011. No arrests have been made.

Despite his acquittal, Standifer didn't walk out of court a free man. He had to finish his federal sentence, which occurred by 2012.

But by last fall, Standifer was again in legal trouble. He was arrested for violating his probation. Federal court records do not indicate why he ran afoul of his probation officer.

On Jan. 28, Standifer faced U.S. District Court Judge Brian C. Wimes. Standifer admitted he had violated his probation. Wimes sentenced Standifer to two years in federal prison. He would wind up in Leavenworth.

After Standifer was given credit for prior time served in state and county jails and the federal system along with days for good behavior, that two-year sentence would end earlier this month, federal officials said. Standifer was released on Sept. 5, according to a spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.

Prosecutors have not provided a motive for Friday's attempted home invasion. The other three men arrested provided statements to police, prosecutors say.

Standifer, however, asked for a lawyer and declined to answer any questions. Bond has been set at $250,000 cash only.

Standifer remains in the Jackson County Jail.

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