KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City man shot and killed his ex-girlfriend after she threw a diaper box at him, then shot her toddler and her new boyfriend because he didn’t want to leave any witnesses and was afraid the baby’s crying would alert neighbors, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said.
Joseph L. Nelson, 22, was charged Thursday with three counts of first-degree murder, three counts of armed criminal action and one count of first-degree burglary in the Sept. 8 deaths of Bianca R. Fletcher, 17; her 1-year-old son, Joseph; and 18-year-old Shannon Rollins Jr. Nelson is being held on $1 million bond.
According to court documents, Nelson told a witness that “he lost it” after the diaper box hit him in the head and shot Fletcher, then the other two.
A witness who was in the home helped Nelson pick up shell casings, police said. Nelson told the witness he went home, showered several times and washed his hand with bleach before selling the gun and burning his clothes on a grill.
The court documents indicate Nelson told another person, “I did something bad. I did something I don’t think I can live with,” later adding, “I killed them. I killed them.”
The morning after the shootings, Nelson reported to police that two firearms and ammunition had been stolen from his vehicle but a witness told police that Nelson sold the gun the same day as the shootings, according to court documents.
During questioning, Nelson said he was home asleep most of the day the shooting occurred and had nothing to do with the deaths.
Baker said Nelson and Fletcher, a high school senior, previously were in a long-term relationship. She would not say if Nelson was the toddler’s father.
Fletcher’s father, Richard, said in a statement that he was grateful to police for their quick work on the case.
“My daughter and grandson were precious. We are hurting and angry but we are grateful justice is being sought for my daughter and grandson,” he said, adding that he also would miss Rollins, who was “a very good influence on my daughter.”
In another statement, Rollins’ family called him “our heart.”
“Our child was a wonderful young man, full of life. He loved everyone. He tried to help those he could,” they said. “Each of us needs to teach our kids how to solve problems without senseless violence, without resorting to a gun.”
Nelson does not yet have an attorney, according to online court records.
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