KANSAS CITY (AP) — An 84-year-old man was convicted Thursday of shooting and killing a Kansas City lawyer who had won a multi-million judgment against him in a civil lawsuit.
A Jackson County jury deliberated about two hours before finding David Jungerman, of Raytown, guilty of first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the Oct. 25, 2017, death of 39-year-old Tom Pickert, who was shot in front of his home after he returned from walking his children to school.
Prosecutors contended Jungerman shot Pickert because he was upset the attorney had won a $5.75 million judgment for a homeless man who Jungerman shot in 2012 because he thought the man was stealing from one of his businesses.
“We are very, very thankful that the jury has spoken and that justice has finally been brought to this family,” Tim Dollar, assistant Jackson County prosecutor, said after the verdict was announced.
Sentencing was scheduled for Nov. 18. Jungerman’s attorney, Daniel Ross, said they plan to appeal.
Prosecutors said 10 days before Pickert was shot, a garnishment was filed against Jungerman. The day before Pickert was shot, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office served Jungerman with property liens that would have prevented Jungerman from selling or transferring his property.
During the trial, prosecutors played an audio recording of Jungerman bragging about the murder to his farmhand, Kansas City media reported. Jungerman apparently recorded the conversation by accident and it was later discovered by authorities during a search of his house.
"The thing that sort of bothers me about me is that when I think about it, I grin. That (expletive) has caused me a lot of trouble,” Jungerman said on the audio.
Dollar said during closing arguments that the recording showed Jungerman had “ice water” in his veins.
“These two people are laughing,” Dollar said. "That is what he is thinking about when he says it makes me grin. What kind of monster would smile or laugh about that? That’s what he is talking about. That’s what was in his mind.”
Jungerman’s defense argued the police investigation was sloppy, with missing reports and destroyed evidence. They said about a quarter of the audio recording of Jungerman was missing.
“The state (prosecutors) ignored the facts. Why?” Ross said. “Because this fellow had a judgment against him and the lawyer who got it died, therefore he’s guilty. And that has been their approach since October 2017.”
KANSAS CITY —A jury on Thursday convicted a Raytown man in the 2018 murder of Kansas City lawyer Thomas Pickert in front of his residence, according to Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker.
David Jungerman, 84, Raytown, was convicted of Murder 1st Degree and Armed Criminal Action.
According to court records, KCPD officers responded at about 8:07 a.m. on Oct. 25, 2017, to a Kansas City residence. They found the Pickert’s body on the front walk.
He had been shot once by a .17 caliber bullet. Before the shooting, the victim had obtained a jury verdict in the amount of $5.75 million against Jungerman on behalf of his client. The day before the murder, Jungerman was served property liens by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.
The defendant owns a white van and told the media that no one used his van that day and that he had the only key to that van. A witness – a man walking his dog -- told police that he saw an older white man with grey hair standing behind an idling white van.
The fatal bullet, according to court records, was identified as a .17 caliber round, a relatively rare caliber. On March 8, 2018, a search warrant was obtained for the defendant’s car.
Under the passenger seat an unspent .17 caliber bullet was located. A witness told police that he had a conversation with Jungerman in March 2018. During that conversation, Police executed search warrants, according to court records, at the defendant’s home and business. At his business, police found a print out from the Jackson County property tax database.
It showed the victim’s home address. An Olympus audio recorder with a recording was recovered. The first part of the recording captured a court hearing that the defendant attended in November 2017. But after the hearing, the recorder continued to run. Later, the defendant talked to his employee about a .17 caliber rifle and about killing the victim.
Jungerman will be sentenced on Nov. 18.