Raytown neighbors say they ‘stayed away’ from man charged in Brookside murder

RAYTOWN, Mo. -- Jackson County prosecutors on Wednesday charged an 80-year-old man with murder. David Jungerman has been a suspect for some time in the killing of attorney Tom Pickert nearly six months ago.

David Jungerman

FOX4's Nicole Diantonio visited Jungerman's Raytown neighborhood, where residents had some strong reactions.

Neighbors say Jungerman lived here for nearly 50 years. Outside his house, his white van remains in the driveway, the van that has become a center point of the investigation.

It's been 24 weeks -- almost six months -- since a husband and father returned to his Brookside home after walking his boys to school. At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Pickert's wife Emily Riegel recounted the feelings of loss she has endured since that tragic day.

"We've had our birthdays without him, holidays without him, and all the little moments that make life what it is all about," Riegel said.

Trisha Finley grew up next door to Jungerman and went to school with his son. She said he was known around around the area as someone to stay away from.

"With his problems with being really strict about, don't fish in his pond, don't even swim in it. Don't get even on his property. We stayed away," Finley said.

Tom Pickert

Still, it was hard for some to come to grips with the charges against a neighbor. She said many of her neighbors were in disbelief learning about the new charges.

Court documents say that in March, Jungerman accidentally recorded himself saying he killed Pickert, and had gotten away with it. As for why he did it, Jungerman is heard saying Pickert has stolen his money.

Pickert was on the legal team that had won a lawsuit for a client in which Jungerman was ordered to pay out more than $5 million. Jungerman had shot two homeless men who he said broke into his business.

While he did not face any criminal charges, Pickert sued on behalf of his client in civil court because one of the men lost his leg. Pickert was killed the day after Jungerman was served papers saying the courts were coming after his wages and properties he owned in Raytown and Kansas City.

On the day of the murder, witnesses saw an older man standing behind a white van parked in front of Pickert's home.

Pickert's wife said Wednesday's announcement was "a desperately needed first step toward justice. True justice. Not the kind one person decides to take into his own hands."

Reigel referred to a saying her late husband used to recite, "No one gets to be judge, jury, and executioner."