No charges filed in 2 deaths; Family blames breakdown in justice system

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Tragedy has hit a metro area family twice in the last year.

A 19-year-old mother and her 3-year-old nephew were both killed in two separate incidents.

"It's devastating to know that we're losing our kids out here, and it's like there's nothing we can do about it," said Alicia Harness.

Harness has a wall hanging of her 19-year-old daughter Dajanna Haislip in her apartment.

Haislip, a nurse and mother of two young children, died November 30 after she was shot in the head the previous month.

At the time, Haislip was pregnant with twins.

"So whoever took my baby's life, they also took two babies who were inside of her," Harness said.

Haislip's death came less than seven months after Harness' grandson, 3-year-old Marcus Haislip III, was shot and killed while riding in a car in May.

"I'm devastated," Harness said. “He was a 3-year-old baby that never got a chance to grow up.”

While the family grieves, no one has been charged in either case, though police have had leads.

One of those leads drew police to Mickael Oliver.

As the 41 Action News Investigators first reported in November, sources have told federal agents Oliver was either one of the shooters or he hid weapons used in Haislip’s death, which took place outside of Oliver’s home at 54th Street and Park Avenue.

"I don't understand why these people are not getting charged or anything, you know," Harness said.

Oliver arrested in connection with crime in 2014

Information obtained exclusively by 41 Action News Investigators details at least one incident in Oliver’s criminal past.

According to Kansas City Police, officers arrested Oliver in July 2014 for burglary after the victim spotted Oliver in her home and called police.

Despite the victim positively identifying Oliver, and police arresting Oliver near the crime scene, the Jackson County Prosecutor declined twice to take the case due to lack of evidence.

The second decision not to prosecute took place in July 2015, nearly a year after the incident took place.

Police sent the 41 Action News Investigators a timeline of what happened: 

  • The offense occurred on 7/25/2014, and the suspect, Mickael Oliver, was arrested. Police documents included a damage estimate of $350 for repair of the window (point of entry).
  • The Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office declined to file charges a day later, on 7/26/2014, citing lack of evidence showing intent.
  • Police disagreed with the prosecutor’s decision not to charge in the case and requested the prosecutor’s office review the case again in August 2014.
  • In June 2015, the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office again declined to file charges. 
  • Prosecutors did offer the option of a charge of felony property damage, but the damage needed to exceed $750.
  • By the time prosecutors ruled out any charges, police weren’t able to file for municipal charges since those charges must be brought within a year of the crime.

The 41 Action News Investigators asked Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office spokesman Mike Mansur about the decision to not prosecute.

"Prosecutors are wanting to file cases, but sometimes they size up the case and they realize we're not going to be able to push this one over the threshold," he said.

Harness believes the decision not to prosecute Oliver in 2014 and again in 2015 may have cost her grandson his life in 2017.

Local prosecutors don’t always move forward

The move to not charge Oliver, despite objections from police, represents a situation police and the prosecutor’s office routinely encounter.

A search of federal court records found that a man identified as Isiah Clinton gave Oliver a stolen gun. Detectives were able to track Oliver's gun when he sold it to an undercover agent.

Those same records reveal that between July 2007 and September 2017, Clinton was linked to 24 firearm-related events in Kansas City.

In seven incidents, Clinton was found to possess a stolen firearm. In one other instance, he was found with a firearm that had a damaged serial number.

Two of the 24 incidents included the recovery of marijuana along with a firearm.

Records go on to identify Clinton being shot at five times and hit twice.

Reports also note Clinton pointed a gun at someone at least twice and discharged a firearm on at least three occasions.

Federal law enforcement agents also believe Clinton was involved in an ongoing gun battle before they arrested him in October 2017.

Despite multiple felony arrests for receiving stolen property, theft and aggravated assault, Clinton has no felony convictions.

When the 41 Action News Investigators asked the prosecutor’s office how it was possible for someone with that record to not be successfully prosecuted for a felony, the prosecutor’s spokesman said that "Sounds like he is being prosecuted by the Feds."

When the 41 Action News Investigators pointed out all Clinton's past came without a felony conviction before his arrest by federal agents, Mansur said the prosecutor’s office works “very collaboratively” with federal prosecutors.

Exclusive details obtained by the 41 Action News Investigators show the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office has seen an increase in the number of cases it has taken on during the last three years: 

  • 2014: 4,195 cases
  • 2015: 4,519 cases
  • 2016: 4,726 cases

Despite that increase, police departments across Jackson County have sent hundreds more cases to the prosecutor's office that haven’t resulted in charges, mostly for lack of evidence.

In some instances, that lack of evidence includes uncooperative witnesses.

The number of cases the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office has declined spiked in 2015, but otherwise is about the same from 2014 to 2016:

  • 2014: 982 cases
  • 2015: 1,527 cases
  • 2016: 992 cases

Based on those numbers, more than one in four cases presented to the prosecutor by police in 2015 were not prosecuted.

"You want to put your emphasis on cases that you think could be a benefit to the community," Mansur said.

41 Action News Investigators went looking for answers in Dajanna Haislip's death

Police records show one of the people at Haislip’s shooting was Cortez Caples, the father of Haislip's children.

The 41 Action News Investigators caught up with Caples outside the Jackson County Courthouse earlier this year. Caples was there for a hearing on a domestic felonious restraint case involving another woman who he had a child with.

Caples tried to enter a plea that day, but the judge wouldn't take the plea after Caples told the judge he had recently smoked marijuana.

The judge said Caples's eyes were glassy and re-scheduled the hearing.

We asked Caples after that hearing what happened to Dajanna Haislip, but he declined to comment.
Caples ultimately pleaded guilty to that felonious restraint charge and received three years probation.

Alicia Harness said she won't be satisfied until her daughter and her grandson's killers are charged and sent to prison.

"The justice system is not doing anything to help, nothing," she said.

Both Mickael Oliver and Isiah Clinton are now in custody on federal charges.

Those federal charges stem from a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms investigation conducted originally in an effort to get enough information for an arrest for 3-year-old Marcus Haislip’s case. 

So far, Oliver has not been charged in Marcus’s death. Nor has anyone else.

ATF is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Marcus' killer.

Anyone with information is asked to call 1-888-ATF-TIPS.

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