Man acquitted in killings of suburban Kansas City couple

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A suburban Kansas City man has been acquitted of fatally shooting a couple as their young children sat in a nearby vehicle.

The Kansas City Star reports that jurors found 44-year-old Howard Ray Stephenson, of Blue Springs, not guilty Friday of two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of armed criminal action. The charges stemmed from the 2013 killings of Jaron Syrus and Qwentelia Vanzant, both 25.

Court records said Syrus told police before he died that Stephenson was the shooter. But the defense said that during the deadly confrontation at a convenience store, Syrus was armed and angry because he and Vanzant thought one of Stephenson’s sons had stolen from them.

The Blue Springs couple had their 3-year-old son and Vanzant’s 7-year-old daughter in their car.





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