Tuesday, a judge in Jackson County sentenced a Kansas City man to life in prison for shooting his friend in the back, stealing his truck, and driving over his body while fleeing the scene.
In June, a jury found Jonathan L. Bradford, 41, guilty of second-degree murder, armed criminal action, motor vehicle tampering, and abandonment of a corpse. He was found guilty of murdering 35-year-old Lodiller Styles in July of 2020.
Bradford was sentenced to the maximum prison term for his conviction of second-degree murder by Judge Sarah Castle. In addition, she ordered Bradford to serve an additional seven years in prison for three additional felonies.
On July 22, 2020, Kansas City police officers responded to a shooting in the Manheim Park neighbourhood at East 40th Street and Tracy Avenue. Styles was discovered dead on the ground with apparent gunshot wounds.
Later, medical examiners determined Styles had been shot at close range in his cheek, upper-right back, and head.
On the day of the murder, Styles and Bradford were together at Styles’ apartment, according to witnesses. One of the witnesses reported that 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.
The witness in the pickup truck stated that Bradford was smoking drugs and “acting weird.” The shooting occurred after Bradford attempted to exit the rear seat but was prevented by the child locks.
After Styles was shot, the pickup truck lurched forward and crashed into a van. The witness stated that Bradford then removed Styles from the front seat and drove away.
A week later, Bradford was charged based on eyewitness identification and other evidence, including a private Facebook message he sent to a relative.
The message contained in part one of Bradford’s statement, which read: “I was just thinking everyone keeps saying I did this… so f— it, I did do it.” In an interview with police, Bradford denied shooting Styles.
In a motion filed Monday in Jackson County Circuit Court, prosecutors requested the maximum sentence for Bradford’s murder conviction. Assistant Prosecutor Hallie Schuman wrote that Bradford exhibited “no remorse” by “failing to acknowledge anything about the trial and his convictions.”
Schuman stated in the motion, “He not only murdered one of his closest friends at point blank range, but he also ran over his body as he attempted to flee.”
Bradford was represented by the Public Defender’s Office of Missouri. Bradford’s childhood was shaped by “immense trauma,” including the murder of his father when he was a child, according to a motion filed by Bradford’s attorney on Monday, requesting a 15-year prison sentence.
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