Steven Lester Woods appeared in Clay County Circuit Court Monday for a hearing to request a bond reduction. In that hearing, it was disclosed that Woods had resigned from his job as a special education teacher at Maple Elementary School.
Smithville Superintendent Mark Maus confirmed Woods’ resignation and declined to comment further.
Woods first worked at the school as a behavioral interventionist from June 2019 to July 2021 before taking the teaching position in August 2022, a district spokeswoman said. Woods has worked at two other Kansas City area school districts in the last eight years, according to his LinkedIn profile.
He’s been charged with first-degree murder, first-degree assault, two counts of armed criminal action and unlawful use of a weapon in the killing of 18-year-old Joseph Michael Bonacorso, his stepson. Bonacorso’s mother, who is married to Woods, was also seriously injured in the shooting.
A Smithville School District spokeswoman previously told The Star that Woods had been placed on administrative leave after officials learned of the charges. In a letter soon after the shooting, Maus informed families about the charges Woods faced and said the district was cooperating with law enforcement in the investigation.
Woods is being held on $1 million bond in Clay County jail. Judge Louis Angles denied his request for an amended bond at the hearing Monday.
The fatal shooting
Officers responded to the shooting shortly after 1 a.m. Sept. 24 to a home in the 1300 block of Northeast 119th Terrace in Kansas City, North.
Bonacorso’s mom told police that she and Woods had a history of verbal abuse in their marriage and that she had confronted him for cheating on her and texting another woman before the shooting, according to court documents.
Woods allegedly told her to leave, but while she was getting her belongings, she saw his phone was unlocked, grabbed it and locked herself in a hallway bathroom. He then allegedly broke through the bathroom door, grabbed the woman and repeatedly threw her in the tub while yelling at her to leave the home.
Another person in the house tried to intervene, but Woods allegedly went after her.
She told police she barricaded herself in her bedroom, but Woods allegedly broke the door and punched a TV. She told police she called Bonacorso because she feared for her life.
Woods ran into his room and shut the door when Bonacorso arrived and yelled for the female victims to leave with him, according to court documents.
Then, Woods told police he grabbed a handgun from his nightstand, left his room and told Bonacorso to leave the home. Woods allegedly shot Bonacorso when he raised a knife.
After his wife fled the home, Woods told police he got a shotgun from his bedroom to defend himself in case Bonacorso’s family arrived before police. In 2016, Woods had shot Bonacorso’s father in what was determined to be self defense, according to court records.
As he waited for police, Woods told a detective he fumbled with the shotgun’s safety and it had an “accidental discharge.”
His wife, who came to the front door to check on her son, was struck by a shotgun round that exited through the door.
Woods was assigned a public defender by the court.
The Star’s Bill Lukitsch contributed.