Today, District Attorney Jerome A. Gorman filed charges in a Kansas City, Kansas, cold-case murder from 1997.
On October 22, 1997, Kansas City, Kansas Police responded to 950 Shawnee to find then-33-year-old Vicky Ernst dead inside her home.
Ernst’s death was determined to be a homicide. At the time of the original call the crime scene investigation, autopsy, and interviews by police detectives failed to identify the person or persons responsible for Ernst’s death.
While the KCKPD never closed the investigation, there were periods where no new leads meant the investigation was not active.
Over the course of years, various forensic reports of the physical evidence were issued by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation Laboratory, and more recently the district attorney’s staff and detectives from the major case unit at the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department undertook a comprehensive review of this case.
Police followed-up on newly developed leads, and the District Attorney today charged two men with Ernst’s murder. Both men are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.
Jason Lanell Rucker, now 34-years-old, of Kansas City, Kansas, was charged in the Juvenile Division of Wyandotte County District Court with one count of murder in the first degree of Vicky Ernst. Rucker was 17-years-old when Ernst was killed.
Torry Mashone Johnson, now 34-years-old, who is currently in the Crossroads Correctional Center, Cameron, Missouri, was charged in the Juvenile Division of Wyandotte County District Court with one count of murder in the first degree of Vicky Ernst. Johnson was 16-years-old when Ernst was killed.
The District Attorney also today filed papers seeking to prosecute both Rucker and Johnson as adults.
Rucker is now in the Wyandotte County jail, in lieu of posting $1,000,000.00 bond.
Next court appearances for both men are not yet scheduled.
Even though charges have been filed, the investigation remains open as additional leads are pursued. Anybody with knowledge is encouraged to contact the major crimes unit of the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department at 913-573-6020.
Thursday, April 9, 2015
Charges filed in KCK cold case from 1997