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Family upset after acquittal, questions Wyandotte County District Attorney's Office

Jocelyn Ibarra.jpg
Posted at 10:44 PM, Jan 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-09 23:52:40-05

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A man charged with double murder of a Wyandotte County woman and her unborn baby was acquitted Wednesday by a jury, but the family of the victims is now raising questions about how the case of Jocelyn Ibarra's murder was handled.

"I am not a lawyer, I am not a prosecutor, I am not even saying they did not do their job. I am just saying there are more questions that needed to be asked," said Yesenia Ibarra, the sister of Jocelyn Ibarra's sister.

Kansas City, Kansas, police found 23-year-old Jocelyn Ibarra dead in her car in June 2018. An investigation determined Jocelyn, who was 12 weeks pregnant, died from a gunshot wound.

"That was her biggest dream, to be a mother, and (they) took her life, (they) didn't give her the opportunity to have her kid," Jocelyn's mother, Clara Morales, said.

KCK police arrested two people in connected to Jocelyn's murder. Alora Mendoza pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 2018 and was sentenced to 11 years in prison in exchange for her testimony against Nicholas Magee.

Prosecutors charged Magee with two counts of murder. On Wednesday, a jury acquitted Magee after finding the prosecutor did not present enough evidence to prove he was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

"I believe they could have done more, and that's what we want," Yesenia said.

Former KCK police chief Terry Zeigler agreed. He posted a video Thursday on Twitter criticizing the Wyandotte County District Attorney's Office.

"Unfortunately Deputy District Attorney Darrell Smith did a horrible job of prosecuting this case, did such a poor job, the jury had no other alternative but to acquit Magee of the murder charge," Zegiler said in the social media video. "The District Attorney failed to put on even half of the evidence against Magee. He didn't even call on the detective who worked the case, who was standing in the hallway during the trial waiting to take the stand. Never called on him to testify in Ybarra's [sic] murder."

Zeigler called the acquittal a "tragedy of injustice" and said he feels like the "the victims of Wyandotte County are getting the wrong deal."

The Wyandotte County District Attorney's Office offered this statement in response to the former police chief's tweets:

Based on the evidence presented, the state believes there were two individuals involved in this homicide. We secured a conviction for one of the individuals that resulted in a 2nd degree murder conviction for each victim. That individual was sentenced to prison.

The evidence connecting Nicholas Magee to the homicide was the statement of his co-defendant, who testified against him at trial. There was no gun, no DNA connecting this defendant, no fingerprints and no eyewitness identification. All of the evidence connected to Magee was introduced in trial.

While this office is saddened the jury did not find proof beyond a reasonable doubt for this defendant, there was a conviction of 2nd degree murder for both victims of this senseless crime.
Wyandotte County District Attorney's Office