Jury finds 18-year-old from KCK guilty of murdering 12-year-old in Leavenworth

Jaylen LaRon Johnson.
Jaylen LaRon Johnson.(Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office)
Published: May. 10, 2022 at 7:45 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - A jury has found an 18-year-old from Kansas City, Kansas, guilty of murdering a 12-year-old in Leavenworth last year.

Jaylen LaRon Johnson was convicted today of first-degree murder, criminal discharge of a firearm at an occupied vehicle causing great bodily harm, criminal discharge of a firearm into an occupied vehicle, and criminal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

He is set to be sentenced on June 17. Given the circumstances, the sentence can be life in prison with the first opportunity for parole after 25 years. However, that is up to the court.

The county attorney said that on April 14, 2021, Johnson was in the front seat of a car that Darvon Thomas was driving. Johnson, Thomas, and a third person drove to Kare Pharmacy at 2500 S. 4th St. in Leavenworth to meet people they knew via social media and buy a gun.

When the people selling the gun arrived, they parked across the lot from Thomas’ car. The third person who was with them took $400 in cash over to the sellers’ vehicle. After getting the gun, however, he realized it was only a BB gun and shouted that information at Johnson and Thomas.

The sellers then tried to drive away and Johnson stepped out of the car he was is in, firing a .45 caliber Glock 30 at them. The vehicle was hit 11 times.

There was a 12-year-old in the backseat of that car who was hit several times. He was taken to a local children’s hospital but ultimately died from his injuries.

Thomas was sentenced to 200 months in prison (16.67 years) for his role in this shooting on Feb. 8 after being found guilty of second-degree murder.

The county attorney said that Brooke Johnson has a preliminary hearing on Wednesday for charges that have been filed in connection wit this case. She is innocent until proven guilty.

“With another case pending on this death, we can’t say too much on the facts of this matter,” County Attorney Todd Thompson said. “That said, none of these events should have ever occurred. We are grateful for the work of our law enforcement for their hard work.”