Attorney for man convicted of blast that killed six KC firefighters in 1988, files for his immediate release


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An attorney has filed papers asking a federal judge to immediately release Bryan Sheppard, who is serving a life sentence for his role in an explosion that killed six Kansas City, Mo., firefighters.

Cynthia Short argues that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in recent years that mandatory life without parole sentences of juveniles are unconstitutional. Sheppard was 17-years-old at the time of the explosion. She also argues under current law, Sheppard, now 45-years-old, would only be serving a maximum sentence of 10 years.

On November 29, 1988, six KCFD firefighters – Thomas Fry, Gerald Halloran, Luther Hurd, James Kilventon Jr., Robert D. McKarnin and Michael Oldham – were killed in a massive early-morning explosion at a construction site near 71 Highway in southeast Kansas City. The explosions were ruled to be caused by arson at a construction trailer loaded with tens of thousands of pounds of explosives.

In 1997, five people were eventually convicted in the case – Frank Sheppard, Earl “Skip” Sheppard, Bryan Sheppard, Darlene Edwards and Richard Brown – all of whom are sentenced to prison.

Because Sheppard already has served more than two decades, Short says he should be freed “at the earliest possibility.”

Sheppard and the other four convicted in the firefighters’ deaths have maintained their innocence.

Four years ago, on Sept. 28, 2012, FOX 4 reported the following story on our website and in our newscasts: