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‘That’s longer than Jarod was alive:’ Shawnee homicide suspect faces 33 years in prison, per plea deal

Fernando Reyes-Lara plea hearing
Jarod Rogers murder victim
Fernando Reyes-Lara murder charge
Posted at 5:25 PM, Jan 17, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-17 19:37:38-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Johnson County District Attorney's Office reached a plea deal Wednesday in connection to a Shawnee homicide case that the KSHB 41 I-Team has been following for more than a year.

Jarod Rogers, 25, was shot to death in November 2022 and left in a restaurant parking lot.

Rogers' mother, Jody Blohm, was in the Johnson County courtroom Wednesday — where on of the people charged with her son's death, Fernando Reyes-Lara, entered a guilty plea to charges of second-degree murder and aggravated robbery.

"It was heartbreaking again," Blohm said. "I can't wait for this to be over so we can stop reliving it every day."

Jarod Rogers murder victim
Jarod Rogers, 25, was shot to death during a robbery connected with a marijuana deal gone wrong in November 2022 in Shawnee. Johnson County prosecutors reached a plea deal Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024, with Fernando Reyes-Lara, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and aggravated robbery in Rogers' death.

Johnson County prosecutors charged five teens in Rogers' death. Court documents detailed a plot to rob him during a marijuana deal.

The I-Team discovered that the oldest teen charged in the case, Reyes-Lara, has a long record as a minor. He also was on probation two months before Rogers' murder.

The case launched the I-Team’s investigation into the Kansas juvenile justice system.

The plea agreement recommends a sentence of 400 months — or more than 33 years — in prison.

"That's longer than Jarod was alive, so I assume that's fair," Blohm said. "But I still got a life sentence."

Rigers' mom described what it’s been like trying to heal after her son’s murder.

"It's rough; there's still some days I cry, still days I don't want to get out of bed," Blohm said. "I shake. I stutter. It's definitely taken a hard toll on me."

After the hearing, Reyes-Lara's attorney, Gregory Watt, provided a statement to the I-Team: "We've reviewed the evidence. We've made the best choice available given the circumstances and we look forward to sentencing."

Reyes-Lara is scheduled to be sentenced on March 20.

As for the other four teens charged in Rogers' death, one pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery last year. Three other cases remain pending.