Second teen pleads guilty in brutal killing of Lee’s Summit woman at car wash

LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — The second teen charged in the killing of a Lee’s Summit woman in November 2015 pleaded guilty Thursday.

Joshua Trigg, who was 14 at the time of the crimes, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, two counts of armed criminal action and first-degree robbery in the death of Tanya Chamberlain.

Joshua Trigg

She was a stranger to Trigg and then-14-year-old Trevon Henry, who also pleaded guilty to the same charges in October. Both are accused of stabbing her to death at a Lee’s Summit car wash near Northeast Langsford Road and 291 Highway then stealing her car.

Court documents said the suspects were seen on surveillance video both at the car wash and a nearby Hy-Vee, and the footage was distributed to the public through local news outlets.

A woman who recognized the teens called police two days after the incident and identified them by name, according to court records.

Police arrested Henry in November 2015. He declined to speak to investigators during a recorded interview, but he did ask to speak with his mother.

Court documents say that although much of their conversation was inaudible, investigators were able to summarize the following:

  • Henry said he was with Trigg at the time of Chamberlain’s killing.
  • Henry claimed that Trigg jumped Chamberlain, later taking her vehicle and then leading police on a car chase. Both suspects bailed from the car and ran away from police.
  • Near the conclusion of the conversation, he asked his mom what was done with a pair of shirt and pants, which she said she threw away.

Tanya Chamberlain

When Trigg was arrested and interviewed, he agreed to speak with investigators. Court documents say he described in detail about how Henry planned to stab Chamberlain in order to steal her car. He then said he saw Henry stab the victim multiple times, cutting her throat in the process.

A DNA analysis returned in April 2016 showed matching profiles between Chamberlain, the alleged murder weapon found in the car, and items of clothing each of the suspects were seen wearing in surveillance video, and later found by officers during the execution of search warrants.

Henry will be sentenced Jan. 4, and Trigg will be sentenced Jan. 31.

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