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Independence man sentenced to 30 years for murder of Oriana Starr in 2020

Oriana's mother now wants to help other domestic violence victims
Oriana Starr
oriana starr.jpeg
Posted at 1:36 PM, Nov 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-04 19:18:06-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Oriana Raisa N'Chelle Ashanti Starr had a family who loved her and was a tight-knit support system.

And she was just as unique as her name, her family says.

"Oh my God, she is so missed," said Crystal Graves, Starr's mother.

Brandon McDaniel, 28, took her life two years ago.

On Friday, a court sent him to prison for the fatal shooting of Starr in On Dec. 16, 2020.

Judge Marco Roldan sentenced him to 27 years in prison for second-degree murder and three years for armed criminal action. With the two set to run consecutively, McDaniel will see 30 years in prison.

"She got her justice," Graves said. "People talk about closure; ain't no such thing as closure. When I wake up and go to bed without my baby, that's not closure."

Graves has remained strong over these last years because she wants Starr's life to be a shining star for others.

"I'm going to bring awareness to this domestic violence, 'cause it's more. It's deeper than what people think it is," Graves said.

Starr and McDaniel weren't even dating for a year but in the last couple months before her death, Crystal became concerned about his controlling behavior.

"She wanted to see the good in everybody," Graves said. "She wanted to see good, but some people can't be fixed."

Starr was planning on moving to a different apartment where McDaniel couldn't find her.

On Dec. 16, 2020, he showed up at the Hampton Court apartments near 40 Highway and E 35th Street.

Court documents say the two had been arguing when McDaniel shot Starr, who was only 22 years old. He shot her in the back of the head from just feet away.

He took off, leaving Oriana alone, where she wouldn't be found for an entire day. He was already a felon on parole.

Prior to McDaniel being taken into custody, he was located in January 2021 in Newton, Arkansas — his mother said he had told her he did not want to go back to jail.

At the trial, McDaniel tried to convince the jury it was self-defense, but they didn't buy it.

He had nothing to say at the sentencing hearing.

"Brandon won't be hurting nobody else's family and that was my main objective, to make sure he won't hurt nobody else," Graves said after the hearing.

Additionally, authorities say a witness later came forward to police, sharing McDaniel told them about the shooting and presented the firearm used before it was sold.

McDaniel was held in the Jackson County Detention Center, without bond, prior to sentencing.

Graves will hold a memorial on the anniversary of Starr's death and plans to start an organization that supports domestic violence victims and their families.

"Oriana's death will not be in vain," Graves said.

Graves also wants to thank the Independence Police Department for their work in putting McDaniel behind bars.