A Kansas City man has been charged with second degree murder in a fatal shooting that unfolded roughly one year ago in the 18th & Vine district — as he also faces criminal charges from a separate double slaying that occurred in August 2020.
Cleon D. White, 35, was charged Friday in the killing of Mortez C. Falkner, 32, Jackson County prosecutors announced Monday. He was being held in the Jackson County jail without bond as of Monday night.
According to court records, Kansas City police responded to Truman Medical Center shortly after midnight on Sept. 8, 2021 in regard to a shooting victim who had died there. Investigators later found that the victim, Falkner, had been taken by private vehicle from a shooting scene near East 19th and Vine streets.
Detectives interviewed several witnesses at the hospital. They reported that Falkner had been out celebrating his birthday with friends and family when he was struck by gunfire that came from a person in a dark-colored vehicle. Several people returned fire at the vehicle as the driver fled the area, according to court papers.
Area surveillance cameras recorded footage of Falkner walking on Vine Street as a black Cadillac sedan pulled up near him. It showed the driver’s side window roll down as a person held a firearm and started shooting, according to court papers.
Crime scene investigators found several spent casings at the scene, including those from a .40 caliber. The license plate of the vehicle was also recorded on video.
Investigators found that the car was reported stolen on the day of the shooting. It was found abandoned near East 28th Street and Walrond Avenue one week later.
DNA evidence was found inside the car that allegedly traced back to White, including on the steering wheel and gear shifter. Authorities also allege shell casings from the shooting scene were connected to his genetic profile.
In March, White was charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the killings of Jahmiere Green, 18, and Brandon Rainey, 22. The two young men were found shot to death on the evening of Aug. 25, 2020 in a car in the 2700 block of Guinotte Avenue.
An attorney representing White in that case did not immediately respond to The Star’s request for comment on Monday evening.