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Convicted ex-KCPD officer Eric DeValkenaere’s attorneys ask Missouri Gov. Mike Parson for pardon

Eric DeValkenaere.jpg
Posted at 3:49 PM, Oct 24, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Convicted former Kansas City, Missouri, Police Det. Eric DeValkenaere’s attorneys have asked Missouri Gov. Mike Parson for a pardon.

Parson’s office confirmed Tuesday that it has “received an informal request for clemency from Mr. DeValkenaere’s family attorneys along with hundreds of additional calls and requests from private citizens on his behalf. However, we have not received an official request filed through the Missouri Parole Board at this time.”

Parson said a copy of the request is closed under Missouri’s Sunshine Law, but added: “Clemency is at the Governor’s discretion, and Governor Parson has made no decision regarding clemency for Mr. DeValkenaere at this time.”

DeValkenaere’s wife, Sarah, had reached out to Parson’s office in June asking for a private phone call to discuss her husband’s case. It’s unclear if the governor ever spoke with her.

Around the same time, the Missouri Attorney General’s Office declined to defend DeValkenaere’s conviction, an unusual and unheard of departure from typical legal practice, which compelled the Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to seek and receive leave to defend its own conviction.

Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney Jean Peters Baker spoke out against a possible pardon at the time and did so again Tuesday.

“We strongly oppose,” Baker’s office said in a statement. “The rule of law has spoken clearly on this matter through a Jackson County Grand Jury, three separate Circuit Court judges, three separate appeals court judges and the presiding judge of the Western District Court of Appeals, who signed the arrest warrant last week.”

DeValkenaere shot and killed Cameron Lamb as he backed a vehicle in the garage Dec. 3, 2019, at his residence in the 4100 block of College Avenue.

DeValkenaere — who entered the property along with a fellow officer without a warrant, without permission and without probable cause of a serious crime — knocked over a makeshift fence to reach the backyard.

Nine seconds later, DeValkenaere fired four times, striking Lamb twice — once in the leg and once in the chest — and killing him. He claimed that he saw Lamb raise a gun toward the second officer at the scene, though that was disputed at trial.

After a grand jury indictment in June 2020, Jackson County Circuit Court Presiding Judge J. Dale Youngs found DeValkenaere guilty of second-degree involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action during a four-day bench trial in November 2021.

DeValkenaere is the first KCPD officer ever convicted for killing a Black man while on duty.

Youngs later sentenced DeValkenaere to six years in prison, but allowed him to remain free on bond pending appeal.

The Missouri Appeals Court for Western Missouri affirmed DeValkenaere’s conviction on Oct. 17 before revoking his bond and issuing an arrest warrant.

DeValkenaere surrendered later that day at the Platte County Detention Center, but he’s yet to be turned over to the Missouri Department of Corrections.

According to online detention records, DeValkenaere remains in Platte County jail, where he’s been for the last week.

After the appellate decision, Parson’s office said it was aware of the decision and was “assessing the situation.”

"Governor Parson will give the same thorough review to Mr. DeValkenaere’s case that he gives to all others that come across his desk,” according to a statement from Parson’s office. “No decision regarding a pardon has been made at this time."