Man charged with murder of stepson was teacher, behavior interventionist

Published: Sep. 25, 2023 at 10:35 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - A Northland man charged with murdering his stepson and shooting his wife over the weekend spent eight years working with youth in three local school districts.

Steven Lester Woods is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree assault, and other related charges.

KCTV5 contacted the three districts listed on his LinkedIn page. Two have yet to provide confirmation, but one confirmed that the information on the page is accurate.

His stepson, 18-year-old Joseph Michael Bonacorso, went to Staley High School. The school had extra counselors on hand Monday. Woods is accused of killing him early Sunday morning.

Charging documents describe a fight between Woods and his wife at their home on NE 119th Terrace. She accused him of cheating, took his phone and locked herself in the bathroom. Woods broke open the bathroom door and fought her to get his cell phone then locked himself in the master bedroom.

Several witnesses described Bonacorso arriving home and banging on the door telling Woods to get out, then Woods opening the door and shooting, hitting both his stepson and his wife.

Soon after, Woods fired a shotgun through the front door where his wife was standing outside. The charging documents report that his wife was shot in both thighs and had injuries to her eye and neck

A LinkedIn page with Woods’ name and photo indicates Woods worked for the Smithville, Center and North Kansas City school districts over the last eight years, including a year as a school active shooter response trainer for North Kansas City Schools.

Most recently, from 2022 to the present, he was a special education teacher at Maple Elementary in Smithville. Before that, from 2019-2021, he spent two years at the same school as a behavior interventionist. In between those two jobs, he lists working as an “at-risk teacher” for Center Middle School.

The Smithville superintendent sent a letter to families alerting them that he had been “arrested and charged with several serious crimes.” They immediately placed him on administrative leave, the letter says.

The Smithville School District notified families that an employee is charged with first-degree...
The Smithville School District notified families that an employee is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his stepson.(Smithville School District)

Woods’ LinkedIn page states, “I place most of my effort in taking care of behavior issues before they become a problem for school administration.” It also indicates he is an Army combat veteran who served in Iraq and Kosovo.

The following quotes come from the police account of Woods’ statements to them during a formal interview.

Woods told police his stepson came at him with a knife, so he shot him “center mass” five times. The detective writing the probable cause affidavit put that phase in quotes.

He then “obtained a 12-guage shotgun and ‘posted up’ at the top of the front steps, and aimed his shotgun toward the front door.” He told police he was afraid other family members were going to come after them and was watching the Ring doorbell camera for them.

He told them he accidentally discharged the shotgun because he was fumbling with the safety.

Crime scene investigators found ten 9mm spent shell casings, one spent shotgun shell, two handguns and a shotgun.

Police indicated in court documents that Woods shot the children’s biological father seven years ago. The finding in that case at the time was self-defense.

Woods is now in jail on a $1 million cash-only bond.

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