A defense attorney for David Jungerman, the self-made Kansas City millionaire accused of killing an attorney as an act of revenge, claims in a motion filed recently in Jackson County Circuit Court that detectives planted evidence in his case and another homicide.
The five-page motion, submitted by criminal defense attorney Dan Ross on Tuesday, seeks a delay of the first-degree murder trial scheduled to begin next week. It references Kansas City Police Department internal affairs files obtained through court disclosure process that allege poor management of the homicide squad assigned to the case by its supervisor, who is also accused of directing a detective to plant a gun in another case.
“This had not been previously disclosed to the defense, the defense believes evidence was planted in the present case by law enforcement and additional time is needed to investigate these new disclosures,” the motion says.
The internal affairs files referenced in the motion are said to include sworn statements of other detectives within the unit. Those records outline mismanagement by a superior such as failure to enforce reporting protocols, allowing incorrect information to appear in warrant applications and toleration of “biased investigations,” the motion alleges.
Defense attorneys claim the information is relevant to Jungerman’s case, and was withheld by KCPD’s general counsel until the court ordered its release. Additional time is now being sought to take sworn statements from the detectives on the squad and investigate further.
“Without this critical information the defense will be denied significant defenses for establishing for the jury whether the KCPD investigation of (Jungerman) was so tainted by the detectives in charge, that any of the evidence from any officer is reliable,” Ross argued in the motion.
Jungerman, a farmer who ran a successful baby furniture manufacturing business, is accused of killing attorney Tom Pickert after Pickert won a $5.75 million civil judgment against him. Pickert was found shot to death on Oct. 25, 2017 on the front porch of his home in the 200 block of West 66th Terrace.
The killing remained unsolved for months. Kansas City police said at one point that Jungerman was not considered a suspect. But investigators later found that Jungerman accidentally recorded himself saying he killed Pickert within weeks of the shooting, prosecutors allege.
The allegation of planting evidence in the Jungerman case comes shortly after the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office accused KCPD detectives of the same act in a separate case.
In the trial of former Det. Eric DeValkenaere, convicted last month of manslaughter and armed criminal action in the killing of Cameron Lamb, prosecutors alleged a gun found elsewhere on scene was planted in Lamb’s left hand following the fatal police shooting. DeValkenaere, who is scheduled to be sentenced in March, contended in his defense that Lamb was armed and posed a lethal threat to his partner.