KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Kansas City, Missouri man and a Crowder, Mississippi man were convicted by a federal jury last week for their roles in a drug-trafficking conspiracy that included two murders.
Shawn Burkhalter, also known as “Deuce,” 34, of Kansas City, and Joshua Nesbitt, also known as “T,” 29, of Crowder, each were found guilty of two counts of murder resulting from the use of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence and a drug-trafficking crime, and one count of murdering a potential witness.
Burkhalter and Nesbitt also each were found guilty of one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana, one count of possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute, one count of possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute, one count of robbery, two counts of discharging a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence and a drug-trafficking crime, one count of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, one count of being felons in possession of a firearm, one count of conspiracy to commit witness and evidence tampering, and one count of evidence tampering. Additionally, Burkhalter was found guilty of one count of witness and evidence tampering.
Under federal statutes, Burkhalter and Nesbitt are subject to life in federal prison without parole.
Evidence introduced during the trial indicated that Burkhalter and Nesbitt participated in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana from 2008 to Feb. 20, 2018.
On Sept. 10, 2015, Burkhalter and Nesbitt stole cocaine from Danny Lamont Dean, and in the process of that robbery, shot and killed Dean with a Rock River Arms AR-15, 5:56-caliber semi-automatic rifle.
On Oct. 4, 2015, Nesbitt and others stole marijuana from Anthony Dwayne Johnson, and in the process of that robbery, Nesbitt shot and killed Johnson with the same Rock River Arms AR-15, 5:56-caliber semi-automatic rifle, all of which was at the direction of Burkhalter.
Both of those murders were committed “willfully, deliberately, maliciously, and with premeditation and malice aforethought, and in the perpetration of, and attempt to perpetrate, a robbery,” as charged in the indictment. The indictment further charged that Johnson’s murder was committed as part of a conspiracy to prevent him from testifying before a federal grand jury or federal court or communicating with a federal law enforcement officer.
The witness tampering conspiracy also included a murder threat against another person, identified in court documents as “Witness #1,” to cause that person to help conceal the AR-15 rifle used to murder Johnson and Dean, so that it could not be used as evidence. Conspirators attempted to hide the murder weapon from federal investigators.
Burkhalter and Nesbitt robbed a Kansas City business on Sept. 8, 2015, brandishing the same AR-15 rifle.
Following the presentation of evidence, the jury in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Missouri deliberated for six hours before returning guilty verdicts to U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes, ending a trial that began Monday, Aug. 7, 2023.
Sentencing hearings will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
Co-defendants Sharika Hooker and Autry Hines, both of Kansas City; Joslyn Lee, also known as “Bless,” and Nickayla Jones, both of Blue Springs, Missouri; Rachel Ryce of Raytown, Missouri; and Anthony Peltier, also known as “A-1,” of Lawrence, Kansas, have pleaded guilty and await sentencing.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patrick C. Edwards and David Wagner. It was investigated by the FBI and the Kansas City Police Department.