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Families of fentanyl victims ‘in support’ of Jackson County prosecutor’s murder charges

Posted: 6:42 PM, Jun 28, 2024
Updated: 2024-07-01 10:54:01-04
Libby Davis

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced this week her office charged an alleged drug dealer with murder.

Vincent Scarcello is charged with second degree murder and delivery of a controlled substance.

This is only the second time Peters Baker’s office has charged an alleged dealer with murder.

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Families who have lost loved ones to fentanyl overdoses said they are happy to see the prosecutor's office bringing charges of this magnitude against an alleged drug dealer.

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Libby Davis lost her son Cooper to a fentanyl overdose.

“I am very much in support of this work. I want to see it happen more often,” said Libby Davis. “I hope Jackson County can set a precedent with this next trial so that it sends a message, which is what I wanted in our case, also.”

Davis lost her son, Cooper, after he took a pill laced with fentanyl in August of 2021. She has advocated for youth awareness since her son's death through a foundation in Cooper’s name.

“We realized right away that we had to warn as many people and families about this issue as we possibly could,” she said.

The Johnson County District Attorney's Office took Cooper’s case to court. A jury found the person charged not guilty of distribution of a controlled substance causing great bodily harm or death.

Libby said the verdict was devastating.

“Every drug dealer that we can take off the streets is only going to save lives in our community," she said. "So we wanted justice for Coop. But we also know that there is not one solution to this problem.”

Across the state line, Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker is trying a similar case.

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Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney Jean Peters Baker

She charged the alleged dealer with a more serious crime, second degree murder.

“This is a challenge to prosecute because often drug dealing happens in secret," she said. "That’s how it works.”

Peters Baker said Scarcello’s charges are a result of the partnership between the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department and her office.

But there’s a need for greater collaboration across the metro.

“And the more that we, we being in law enforcement, can communicate and partner with each other, the more likely we are to hold people accountable,” Peters Baker said.

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Libby Davis (left) talks with KSHB 41 News reporter Abby Dodge.

Davis remains committed to keeping other families from the pain she still experiences to this day.

“We’ve got to get through to people,” she said with tears in her eyes.

Davis said the foundation will ramp up its educational efforts when school resumes in August.