Man charged with first-degree murder in 18-year-old stepson’s death
Editor’s note: KCTV5 identified the teenage victim killed as 17 years old in a previous version of this story. Kansas City Police confirms Bonacorso was at 18 years old at the time of his death.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - A Kansas City man is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of his stepson early Sunday morning.
Clay County Prosecutors charged Steven Lester Woods with first-degree murder, armed criminal action, assault, and unlawful use of a weapon.
Officers responded to a home on Northeast 119th Terrace on a shooting call shortly after midnight Sunday. When they arrived, officers said they found Woods’ wife suffering from multiple gunshot injuries. She told officers her husband shot her 18-year-old son, Joseph Michael Bonacorso. The teenager later died of his injuries. His mother is hospitalized with serious injuries.
According to the probable cause statement, Woods and his wife began fighting following a pool party Saturday evening when she accused him of cheating. She took his cell phone and locked herself in the bathroom of their home. Woods broke down the bathroom door to get into the room. Woods’ wife told police he grabbed her and threw her into the bathtub multiple times. The woman’s daughter corroborated the story.
The woman’s daughter, who was home at the time of the shooting called her brother for help. Bonacorso came home with two friends. He ran into the house to help his mother and sister leave the home, according to witnesses accounts that are included in the probable cause statement. Witnesses said Bonacorso did not have a weapon, according to those same witnesses.
Bonacorso started banging on the door of the master bedroom, yelling at Woods. The probable cause statement said Woods opened the bedroom door and shot his stepson as many as five-times. Woods’ wife told investigators she laid on top of her son to protect him. She eventually ran out of the house, but turned around to go back to her son. The probable cause statement said Woods then shot her through the front door of the house.
Crime scene technicians located multiple spent 9mm shell casings, a spent shotgun shell, multiple shotgun shell rounds, two handguns and a shotgun.
During an interview with detectives, Woods admitted he broke down the bathroom door to get his cell phone but did not throw his wife into the bathtub. He also told investigators that he shot Bonacorso because he had a knife and threatened him. When asked about shooting his wife through the front door, Woods told investigators he was concerned that Bonacorso’s extended family would come to the house.
Woods also told investigators that he shot the teenagers’ father in 2016, but that it was self defense.
Woods made his first appearance on the charges in a Clay County courtroom Monday afternoon.
Woods worked as a special education resource teacher at Maple Elementary School in the Smithville School District. The district’s superintendent sent families an email notifying them about the accusations involving Woods.
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