Man sentenced to life in prison for 2007 Eliseo Thomas murder

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Richard V. Cooper

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced on Friday that Richard V. Cooper, 30, was sentenced to life in prison after he was found guilty in the murder of Eliseo Thomas.

FOX 4 had spoken to Thomas in 2005 for a story on inner-city violence. Thomas talked about the dangers of the street.

“It’s not easy out here. You could be standing outside on the sidewalk and get caught by stray bullet meant for somebody else across the street,” Thomas said.

His words were tragically prophetic; he died after he got caught in the cross-fire of a drive-by shooting near a tire shop. The shooting was carried out by Cooper, Markus Lee and Rayshawn Taylor. The trio also shot at police officers as they were pursuing their vehicle.

Cooper was sentenced on 10 counts total that included: second-degree murder, four counts of assault on a law enforcement officer and five counts of armed criminal action.

Lee had previously stood trial but walked free after a mistrial was declared. He was later killed by gunfire on October 30, 2011 in Kansas City, Kan. Taylor has also been sentenced to life without parole for his role in the murder.

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