KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The man convicted of killing a Kansas City father and paralyzing his son will spend the rest of his life in prison. A Jackson County judge sentenced Dontae Jefferson to four life sentences with no chance for parole Wednesday.
A jury convicted Jefferson in the April 2014 shooting at a gas station near 45th and Cleveland. Surveillance video shows him approach a car at a pump and fire shots into the driver’s window. Thirty-four-year-old Ka’Vyea Curry died. His 10-year-old son Ka’Vyea Tyson-Curry, who now prefers the name Ka’vyea Tyson, was paralyzed. An unrelated 5-year-old in the backseat survived unharmed.
Prosecutors called it a revenge killing; Curry was a witness to a 2004 armed robbery in which Jefferson pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to 10 years, got out in 2013, and killed Curry eight months later.
“In my opinion he is pure evil personified,” said Forest Tyson, Ka’vyea’s grandfather. “I think I am a pretty good manly man, but there were a couple of things in there that I could not watch. My grandson taking his last steps on his own, I could not watch that video.”
Ka’Vyea Tyson is now 13 years old and chose to go to school rather than attend Jefferson’s sentencing. FOX 4’s Shannon O’Brien caught up with him after school for an exclusive interview.
“I am good,” said Ka’Vyea, who says that is his stock answer to the question how are you? “I don’t like sharing my feelings and explaining things.”
He is going through the usual teenage difficulties, but he has to deal with so much more. He is occasionally in pain from the bullet that shattered his spine. The incident that paralyzed him and killed his father is still hard for him to talk about.
“I don’t like to talk about my feelings, that’s I just deal with it by myself,” he said.
The teenager is now in 8th grade, enjoys playing video games and has a girlfriend. “I got my first kiss,” Ka’Vyea said with a smile.
He is working with a therapist to gain upper body strength, but does not have much hope for a full recovery.
“Everybody is saying ‘aw, you will walk again bro.’ And I am like, ‘no I won’t.’ They are just lying to me basically,” said Ka’Vyea. “I want to believe it but it is not going to happen.”
During Wednesday’s sentencing, Jefferson apologized for shooting young Ka’Vyea, but not for killing his father. Forest Tyson exited the courtroom while Jefferson’s defense attorney spoke.
“I almost lost it and I didn’t want people to see that side of me,” said Tyson. “I know defense attorneys have their job, but for this guy to get in, stand up and try to humanize this person — it was just too much.”
Jefferson’s attorney argued the prior 10 year prison term changed his client’s personality.
“My client, when he was still learning how to be a human being, got thrown in with the wolves in prison when he should have been put into a program to rehabilitate him,” said Jarrett Johnson. “It is not an excuse, but I think we as a community who fear crime also ought to fear how we treat young offenders and what happens to them if we lock them up for a decade and throw away the key.”
In court, Jefferson said people shouldn’t think of him as a monster. Forest Tyson still does.
“He is not human, he might have all the body parts and heart but he does not have a soul,” Tyson said.
One of the most emotional moments in court Tuesday was when Ka’Vyea’s grandfather took the stand and begged for the judge to impose a life sentence, because he says his grandson is serving a life sentence in a wheel chair.