KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) – Just after 5 p.m. Thursday, a jury announced they had reached a verdict in the first-degree murder trial of 84-year-old David Jungerman for the fatal 2017 shooting of 39-year-old Tom Pickert in his Brookside front yard.
A jury found Jungerman guilty on both counts of first-degree murder and armed criminal action after deliberating for approximately two hours.
After waiting nearly five years for the murder trial to begin, prosecutors said Pickert’s family and friends were likely relieved that the trial is finally over.
Pickert was shot outside of his family’s home on Oct. 25, 2017, after he had just returned from walking his two young sons to school.
“We are very thankful that the jury has spoken and that justice has finally been brought to this family,” Assistant Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Dollar said.
“When we have victims in this system, we know we can never replace what they lost,” Jackson County Deputy Prosecutor Dion Sankar said. “The only thing we can do is honor their loss by putting out the effort that this trial team put out.”
Before his murder, Pickert helped a then homeless man win a $5.75-million civil judgement against Jungerman. Jungerman shot the man for trespassing on his property.
Jurors heard a recording of Jungerman in his own words during the trial for Pickert’s murder. Prosecutors say Jungerman recorded himself talking with his longtime farmhand about Pickert’s murder.
“Hey, you know, people … People, uh, know that I murdered that son of a [expletive],” jurors heard Jungerman say on the recording. “The thing that sort of bothers me about me is, when I think about it, I grin. (Laughing) That mother[expletive] has caused me a lot of problems.”
“Pivotal piece of evidence,” Dollar said. “The defendant in his own words.”
Jungerman’s defense attorney Daniel Ross gave a brief statement as Jungerman and his defense team left the courtroom.
“We will file the appropriate appellate papers,” Ross said. “We think we have a great opportunity to have the courts grant further relief.”
During closing arguments, prosecutors told jurors the case was about a father being taken from his wife and young sons by a man concerned about his money and assets.
They believe the jury’s decision is another step toward justice for Pickert’s family.
“To know that somebody, this community stood up for their dad,” Dollar said following the verdict.
Jungerman’s defense attorney waived his right to have a jury sentencing phase of the trial. A sentencing date with Judge John Torrence is set for Nov. 18 at 1:30 p.m.
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