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Kansas City man accused of killing stepfather

A 24-year-old man is facing felony homicide charges in connection with the shooting death of his stepfather on Aug. 1. The man has also been charged with armed criminal action, and he is accused of violating a protective order that required him to stay away from his 46-year-old stepfather.

That protection order came after the older man claimed someone had attempted to set his house on fire on two separate occasions. It was never unequivocally established that the accused was the person who committed the attempted arson.

Some witnesses say they saw the younger man shoot through the glass window of his stepfather's front door. According to these same witnesses, the shooter reportedly went into the house after the older man opened the door, discharging several more rounds. The man was seen running from the scene with a gun in his hands. He was later found at a hospital, where he fled to a city bus before he was apprehended by police officers.

The younger man allegedly had fresh blood on his pants when he was arrested.

Officers have not said whether they have obtained any evidence that is not strictly circumstantial. That is, law enforcement has not yet released any physical evidence, such as DNA or fingerprint evidence, in relation to the case. If no physical evidence exists, the criminal case against the young man will be significantly weaker.

It is also not clear how the man intends to plead to the charges. If he chooses to plead guilty, he would avoid a jury trial that would result in a heavier sentence if he was convicted. Conversely, if his attorneys believe they could exonerate the man in a jury trial, he may choose to plead not guilty. That decision hinges largely on the advice of the man's attorneys, along with the strength of the case that the prosecution can present against the alleged shooter.

Source: The Kansas City Star, "KC man is accused of shooting stepfather to death," Christine Vendel, Aug. 2, 2012

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