Man gets life in prison in killing of Kansas City, KS detective  - KCTV5

Man gets life in prison in killing of Kansas City, KS detective

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Curtis Ayers was sentenced Tuesday in the May 9, 2016 shooting death of Detective Brad Lancaster during a confrontation near the Kansas Speedway. (Wyandotte County Jail) Curtis Ayers was sentenced Tuesday in the May 9, 2016 shooting death of Detective Brad Lancaster during a confrontation near the Kansas Speedway. (Wyandotte County Jail)
KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -

Curtis Ayers was sentenced Tuesday for the May 9, 2016 shooting death of Detective Brad Lancaster during a confrontation near the Kansas Speedway.

Prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty when Ayers pleaded guilty in January to capital murder and nine other charges connected to the May incident.

Ayers, 29, told KCTV5 News he was on several drugs and trying to win money at Hollywood Casino to buy even more when he spiraled out of control and led police on a chase that crossed the state line. During the chase, Ayers shot and killed Lancaster.

The plea deal took the death penalty off the table, but the Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree said the judge granted as much time as he could under the law.

Dupree said Ayers will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole plus another 492 months for his nine other charges. Those charges include kidnapping, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, and aggravated battery.

After the hearing, Dupree stressed this killing could have been prevented.

“What if the mother, the father, the friend, the cousin of this defendant spoke up and said, ‘I have a knucklehead who is roaming around the streets of Wyandotte County with guns and drugs,’” he said. “If someone spoke up, just maybe, we could have prevented this from happening.”

The courtroom was full of family and friends of the Lancaster family. During the hearing, Kansas City KS Deputy Police Chief Michael York spoke about Lancaster. He said the detective was “scary smart” and dedicated his life to serving others. 

“Brad Lancaster was our hero,” York said when he addressed the court.

Neither Ayers nor anyone from his family addressed the court when the judge gave him the option.

However, when KCTV5 News spoke with him in February, Ayers expressed remorse. At the time of the interview, Ayers was in prison.

"Because of the choices I made I'm in prison for the rest of my life," Ayers said. “My children also have to grow up without a father...and I felt like, that's losing. That's by no means winning in any way."

For Lancaster’s family, with the sentence behind them, they’re bonding together and looking forward.

"We're struggling hard to get through this, just doing the best we can, and I hope he's miserable, I mean I do, I really do. He took a chunk out of our family," said Carolynn Lancaster, the slain detective’s mother.

The victim’s family said they hope Ayers takes this time in prison to think how much pain he's caused the community. They say, maybe then, justice will be served. 

Ayers was arrested in Kansas City, MO after he was shot by a police officer while trying to steal a woman's car.

He still faces charges in Jackson and Leavenworth counties. According to the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office, his charges in that county are still pending.

Ayers has 14 days to start the appeal process. He was ordered to pay more than $3,000 in restitution as well as several other fines to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

And, even though his attorney Mark Manna requested a “nominal fee” from his client, the court ordered Ayers to pay $1,000 for the attorney’s work.

In January, when Ayers entered his plea, a second man was also scheduled to appear.

Jamaal Lewis, 20, is charged with capital murder in the shooting death of another Kansas City Kansas Police officer.

Capt. Robert Melton was killed on July 19, 2016. Lewis, who was expected to enter a plea for his charges, did not.

Now, the Wyandotte District Attorney’s Office is preparing for a jury trial in that case.

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