Man accused of killing 23-year-old in Lee’s Summit makes his first court appearance

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LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. --  The man accused of stabbing a 23-year-old to death Saturday along 291 Highway made his first court appearance Friday.

Nicholas Webb

Nicholas Webb, 58, did not appear in person but rather he appeared through a video monitor. The sole purpose of the appearance was to read him his rights and set his next court appearance.

He faces one count of second-degree murder and one count of armed criminal action in the death of 23-year-old Cody Harter of St. Joseph.

Lee's Summit police and Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker held a news conference about the charges Thursday. Watch the news conference in the video player below.

Webb previously served time after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in the 1980s. He was convicted of strangling a 15-year-old girl to death. He was released from prison in July 2017.

Court documents accuse Webb of killing Harter, who police found collapsed in the inner median on 291 Highway near the Interstate 470 merger after drivers reported a man stumbling in traffic around 7:30 p.m.

Cody Harter

Harter died at the scene. Police located Harter's truck not far away on the shoulder of the highway.

Detectives spoke to several witnesses who described what they saw as a possible road rage incident. Police said witnesses saw another vehicle stopped in front of Harter's truck, and Harter and another person arguing outside their vehicles.

Police said they believe Harter suffered a single stab wound to the chest during the altercation and stumbled back into the roadway before he collapsed in the median. An autopsy later confirmed Harter died of injuries suffered from a knife stabbing.

Court documents say surveillance videos from nearby businesses show Harter's truck and Webb's car both driving down the highway.

Webb was arrested in Clay County hours after the alleged homicide for driving under the influence and drug possession. The arrest report indicated Webb allegedly had a knife in his pocket.

On Wednesday, police received information from a confidential source who told investigators the suspect might be Webb. Police surveyed Webb's home, and when Webb arrived at the home in the car multiple witnesses reported seeing at the scene of the alleged stabbing, officers arrested the 58-year-old.

When interviewed by police, Webb said he'd had "a couple of drinks" earlier on the day of the alleged stabbing.

Webb told investigators there was no pushing or fighting. According to court documents, he told police he was trying to get around Harter's truck but it was "no big deal." Webb told police he did not kill Harter.

Harter was a member of the Missouri Air National Guard. His mother told FOX4 her son also owned a lawn care business and was an avid dirt bike racer. During a news conference Sunday, his family made an emotional plea for anyone who may have seen something to come forward and help find Cody's killer.

"He brought us great joy. He knew great joy. He knew love," she said. "He knew adventure. He knew kindness, and now we know pain and loss."

Webb is being held on a $500,000 bond.

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