Judge sentences Kansas City man convicted of killing friend, driving over body

A Jackson County judge on Tuesday sentenced a Kansas City man to life in prison for shooting his friend in the back, stealing his truck and running over his body as he fled the scene.

Jonathan L. Bradford, 41, was found guilty of second-degree murder, armed criminal action, motor vehicle tampering and abandonment of a corpse at the close of a jury trial in June. He was convicted in the July 2020 killing of 35-year-old Lodiller Styles.

Judge Sarah Castle sentenced Bradford to serve the maximum prison sentence on the second-degree murder conviction. She also ordered Bradford to spend another seven years in prison on three other felonies.

On July 22, 2020, Kansas City police officers responded to a daylight shooting at East 40th Street and Tracy Avenue in the Manheim Park neighborhood. Styles was found on the ground dead of apparent gunshot wounds.

Medical examiners later determined Styles was shot at close range in his cheek, upper-right back and the back of his head.

Witnesses told police Styles and Bradford had been together at Styles’ apartment on the day of the killing. Styles was giving Bradford a ride back to his home in Manheim Park when Bradford suddenly shot Styles while they were in a blue pickup truck, one of the witnesses who was also in the vehicle reported.

The witness in the pickup truck said Bradford had been smoking narcotics and “acting weird.” The shooting happened after Bradford tried to get out of the back seat but was prevented from doing so because the child locks were engaged.

The pickup truck lurched forward and crashed into a van after Styles was shot. Then, the witness said, Bradford pulled Styles from the front seat and drove off.

Charges were brought against Bradford a little more than a week later based on eyewitness identification and other evidence, including a private Facebook message Bradford sent to a relative.

The message contained in part one statement from Bradford that read: “I was just thinking everybody keep saying I did this … than f— it yes I did do it.” During a police interview, Bradford denied shooting Styles.

Prosecutors sought the maximum sentence for Bradford on the murder conviction in a motion filed Monday in Jackson County Circuit Court. Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Hallie Schuman wrote that Bradford showed “no remorse” by “failing to acknowledge anything about the trial and his convictions.”

“He not only killed one of his close friends at point blank range, but he then ran over his body as he tried to get away,” Schuman said in the motion.

Bradford was represented by the Missouri Public Defender’s Office. His attorney filed a motion Monday asking for a more-lenient sentence of 15 years in prison, saying Bradford’s childhood was shaped by “immense trauma,” including the murder of his father when he was a child.

Reference

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