KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A 38-year-old man charged in the killing of five people in a south Kansas City neighborhood in 2014 has been convicted.
Brandon Howell was convicted Monday by a Jackson County jury on all counts including beating two people to death and shooting and killing three others in 2014.
In August 2015 Jackson County prosecutors said they will seek the death penalty for Howell. On Monday, Jackson County Persecutor Jean Baker said they met with all of the family members and decided it was best to remove death as an option in this case and to see the rest of Howell's nature life in prison.
"They are still heartbroken," Baker said. "They are still heartbroken but they’re elated with the news. They waited so so long to get here. They’ve been very patient so I’m very grateful to be able to deliver that news today."
Baker said this was a case that struck terror in a whole community.
"And I really hope what the community takes from this, especially that little community on south KC, is that the person who causes this incredible harm to them can no longer harm them," Baker said.
According to court documents, the murders happened on Woodbridge Lane, near Wornall Road and Blue Ridge Boulevard. The victims are 86-year-old Ann Taylor, 80-year-old George Taylor, 88-year-old Lorene Hurst, her 68-year-old son Darrel Hurst and 69-year-old Susan Choucroun.
Court documents say Howell allegedly tried to steal a vintage Jaguar from Ann and George Taylor. Police found the couple badly beaten and barely clinging to life in their basement. They later died at the hospital.
According to a police investigation, Howell hot-wired the car and tried to get away. But the car didn't work, and neighbors came outside to try to help.
That's when court documents say Howell allegedly shot at them and killed Lorene Hurst, Darrel Hurst and Susan Choucroun.
Then, court documents say Howell drove off in another one of the Taylor's cars, a Toyota SUV. It all happened in broad daylight, around one o'clock.
Hours later, just before midnight, police found Howell walking with a shotgun they said he brought to the Taylor's home and used in the killings, near I-29 and Northwest Barry Road.
They said he attacked three people at a Motel 6 after he left Woodbridge. Howell is facing charges in Platte County related to that incident.
A memorial stands tall at the entrance of the Woodbridge neighborhood in South Kansas City. It's a reminder of the five victims.
A sentencing date has not yet been announced.
This case is not Howell's first brush with the law. He did jail time in Kansas for assault and kidnapping and was acquitted of two 1999 murders.