KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A 22-year-old Kansas City man is charged with killing two homeless men Tuesday, and police say one of them was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Court documents say Mario Markworth allegedly killed 56-year-old Michael McLin and 52-year-old Kevin Waters with a firefighter-style axe.
Waters’ family said he didn’t deserve to die.
“I still love him, and I always will,” Waters’ ex-fiance, Denise Baker, said.
Baker said she was heartbroken after learning the news that Waters was killed. She said Waters was a kind man who helped others whenever he could. He loved the Kansas City Chiefs, Royals and spending time with people he loved.
Waters attended Grace Church in Independence even when he didn’t have a home.
She said she watched the scene as breaking news on FOX4 that morning and knew in her heart Waters was one of the victims.
“Oh, I just broke down,” Baker said. “I just knew it was him. I just had a feeling it was him because he told me the night before he was sleeping by a church.”
Baker met Waters when they were both homeless years ago at the Salvation Army in Downtown Kansas City. Since then she’s been able to pull herself out of homelessness and lives in her own apartment.
But Waters continued to struggle.
She said he battled with mental health and was down on his luck. Baker said she would help him in through food, water, clothing or any way she could.
“I talked to him every day,” Baker said. “We always stayed in contact even though we broke up because we still loved each other, and I still love him.”
Court documents reveal Waters was sleeping outside the Sheffield Family Life Center off Winner Road that morning. Markworth and McLin got into a disagreement nearby where Waters was sleeping.
Markworth allegedly threw McLin to the ground and then killed him with an axe.
As Markworth was walking away, he noticed Waters sleeping on the ground in some brush while he was trying to hide McLin’s sneakers.
Waters woke up from the noise and Markworth allegedly told investigators he asked Waters if he saw what happened, and Waters said he had been sleeping.
Court documents say Markworth then struck Waters with the same axe, and he struggled to gain control of the axe. KCPD said he suffered sharp force trauma to his head and hands along with a bite mark on the back of his shoulder.
Markworth allegedly told investigators he had never seen Waters before and Waters had nothing to do with the first altercation.
“It makes me very angry, but you know what? He’s in heaven now,” Baker said. “God’s with him. He’s not hurting. I know that he said he loved me before he passed away because he loved the hell out of me, and I still loved him, too.”
Baker’s son, Joshua, looked to Waters as a father and role model. He’s studying chemistry at the University of Missouri.
Joshua said he saw Waters just days before his death and told him “don’t let them kill you out there.” He said Waters told him he would be fine, but he was devastated to hear the news that he would never see Waters again.
“There’s not a lot of people that come into your life that you can really say, ‘This person fundamentally changed my direction in life,’ and he definitely was that for me,” Joshua said.
He said Waters’ death was the push he needed to move into the field of forensics so he can help other families who face the same loss as theirs.
“This is just one more step pushing me in that direction is I can help someone like my family,” Joshua said.
Both Denise and Joshua said Waters may have been homeless, but he was loved.
“He was one of the best human beings I’ve ever met, and he was homeless,” Joshua said. “Being homeless doesn’t diminish your value. It doesn’t make you less than anyone else.”
“It’s horrible how Kevin died,” Baker said. “It’s just horrible. Nobody deserves that. Nobody.”
If you would like to help this family in their time of need, you can do so through a Gofundme page that will go towards Waters burial costs.
Markworth remains in jail on a $250,000 cash bond.