KC man sentenced to life in prison for 2018 murder at Overland Park school playground

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OLATHE, Kan. — A Kansas City man has been sentenced to life in prison for killing one coworker and trying to kill another outside an Overland Park elementary school in 2018. 

Anthony Grable, 34, will not be eligible for parole for 50 years under the sentencing a Johnson County judge handed down Wednesday. 

He pleaded guilty to charges of first-degree murder, attempted murder, three counts of aggravated assault, two counts of aggravated robbery and burglary in May 2019. 

Grable worked at Sunrise Point Elementary where he was installing playground equipment in July 2018.

Police said a fight over tools escalated to a crime spree where he shot and killed Todd Eugene Davis and shot Efren Joaquin Gomez, who is now paralyzed.

Grable then unsuccessfully tried to carjack someone at a car wash at 151st and Metcalf, but he did manage to steal an SUV from a man a few blocks away.

Police said he drove to the carjacking victim’s house, which was close to the scene of the deadly shooting.

Officers realized the suspect was there when they brought the victim home, and he noticed one of his dogs was outside. That’s where Grable was taken into custody after a standoff. 

There were no kids on or around the school’s property when the shooting happened. 

Grable was ordered to undergo a mental competency exam shortly after he was arrested, and was deemed competent to stand trial in December 2018. 

After pleading guilty in 2019, Grable’s attorney, Michael McCulloch, filed a motion that he only be sentenced to the mandatory 25 years in prison — not a hard 50.

His attorney argued Grable should have the minimum sentence because he pleaded guilty and a psychiatric evaluation, which McCulloch retained, revealed he was struggling with mental health problems.

McCulloch said, leading up to the shooting, Grable was seeing a psychiatrist and was on mental health medications. 

The motion said Grable struggled with “mood difficulties, cognitive impairment and depression” and he was experiencing a mental health crisis the day of the shooting, believing he was being followed and watched. 

However, the judge rejected the request, sentencing Grable to life in prison with no chance at parole for 50 years. 

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