The strange case of Kansas City’s serial killer who murdered 5 middle aged white men in the space of 1 year
On Tuesday, police arrested a Missouri man for the shooting deaths of 5 men who were total strangers to him.
For over a year, the series of execution-style murders baffled investigators and sent shockwaves through Kansas City until 22-year-old Fredrick Demond Scott was arrested after he was linked forensically to a cigarette butt and an iced tea bottle recovered near one of the crime scenes.
Scott, of Kansas City, is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of Steven Gibbons, 57, and John Palmer, 54. He is not charged in the other three deaths due to lack of evidence. All of the victims were middle aged white men between 54 and 67. Police say four of the five victims were shot in the head. Several were shot in the back of the head.
"They didn’t see it coming," Scott whispered under his breath to detectives.
None of the murders fit a pattern. Some of the men were shot in broad daylight while walking their dogs. At least 2 of the dogs stayed with their slain owners.
The first death was on August 19, 2016, but the investigators only caught a break in the case on August 13 this year after Scott killed his fifth and final victim. Scott, who didn’t own a car, followed Gibbons off a city bus and kept on walking behind him for a distance. He then crept up behind him and shot him in the head before turning around and boarding another city bus.
A surveillance camera at a nearby business panned away from the scene of the shooting at the time of the crime so detectives did not get a view of the murder as it happened. However, by the time the camera panned around again, it captured a man running from the scene and boarding a bus.
Police caught another break when a surveillance camera at a nearby gas station captured a clear image of the same man buying a bottle of iced tea before Gibbons’ murder. The suspect's photo was circulated among police and four days later they spotted a man fitting the description sitting on a wall and smoking a cigarette. They saw Scott throw the cigarette butt on the ground and they officers picked it up and sent it to a lab for DNA testing. WHen the result came back, the DNA from Scott’s cigarette butt matched DNA on the iced tea bottle found discarded near the scene of Gibbons’ murder.
When police arrested Scott, he admitted shooting Gibbons, but he claimed the gun went off as he took it out of his pocket. The motive for the serial killings is still a mystery but Scott reportedly told investigators that he was angry about the 2015 shooting death of his brother, Gerrod H. Woods, 23, who was killed during an armed robbery.
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said the families have endured a difficult year since the murder of Scott’s first victim, John Palmer, who was found shot to death in a wooded area near the Indian Creek Trail on August 19, 2016.
Baker said: "To the families, there’s no motive that makes sense. There just isn’t."