Missouri state representative works to clarify protection order law

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s been more than a year since Jessika Peppers died and her mom, Carol, is still plagued with the question, “Why?”

It’s “definitely not how the story was supposed to end, that’s for sure,” said Peppers. 

Jessika’s ex-boyfriend, David Love, admitted to killing her inside his home in August 2017. He told police he had shot her in self-defense and at the time did not see Jessika.

Police ruled the shooting was self-defense, so prosecutors did not charge him. 

“The hardest part is if he didn’t have a gun, she would still be here today,” Peppers told 41 Action News. 

At the time of the shooting, Love was not allowed to have a gun. 

Prior to the shooting, his mom filed a protection order. A judge granted the order, which prohibited Love from having access to weapons. Love never appeared in court when the full order was issued against him. 

Prosecutors did not charge him with violating a protective order by having a gun. 

“It’s just very frustrating, for sure that there are these loopholes,” said Peppers. 

In Missouri, the defendant has to be served the order, know or have knowledge of the order. However, it’s unclear exactly when that happens. 

Some prosecutors believe it’s when a defendant appears before the court. Others say it doesn’t matter. 

However, state Rep. Greg Razer, D-Kansas City, would like to clarify the law. 

“Currently, if they miss that hearing, if the ruling comes out against them and a full order of protection is put against them, they can ignore it because they have never been served,” said Razer. 

Razer introduced an amendment during the Special Session on Wednesday. 

 

He plans on introducing a bill that would allow a petition to trigger a temporary protection order against a defendant in December when lawmakers reconvene for the regular session. 

If he or she does not appear in court, the court would rule in favor of the petitioner, which would temporarily prohibit a defendant from possessing firearms. 

“I hope it gives prosecutors another tool in their tool chest,” said Razer. 

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