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Overland Park Sport Clips honors stylist murdered in July

Jessica Smith
Posted at 12:55 PM, Aug 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-04 20:14:02-04

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Stylists at Sport Clips in Overland Park on 151st Street are honoring a slain co-worker with a domestic violence campaign.

Domestic violence knows no boundaries.

"If we could have done more...after the fact. Hindsight is never perfect but the time we had her, we loved her," said Keila Branson, a stylist at Sport Clips.

On July 5, Jessica L. Smith, a stylist at the barbershop, was found murdered in her Olathe home.

Police arrested a man she had a protected order against, Clyde James Barnes Jr. He is charged with premeditated first-degree murder, aggravated burglary, unlawful tampering with electronic monitoring, criminal threat and violation of a protection order.

41 Action News discovered that he was charged for stalking Smith after an incident in March. That court date got delayed because of COVID-19.

"It was a tragic exclamation point on the message we were communicating already," said Wayne Freeman, team leader at Sport Clips.

Days before she was killed, Smith's salon got ready to take part in a domestic violence awareness campaign called "Be the Love" with Safehome, a domestic violence shelter in Johnson County.

"We have a 24-hour hotline, we have legal advocacy, we have counselors, support groups. We really want to make sure that everyone knows that we want to eliminate any barriers for anyone thinking about leaving an abusive situation," said Megan McGee, Director of Community Engagement for Safehome.

In honor of Smith, Sport Clips on 151st Street is dedicating their store to her. When you walk in, there is information everywhere about local resources for domestic violence victims.

Stylists are getting education on the topic and having more honest conversations with clients and co-workers.

Stylists are also wearing a purple pin at the shop, in hopes to bring honor to their late co-worker and friend.

"It does mean more to wear the pin and to really talk to our clients about Safehome and what Safehome offers for domestic violence survivors. Unfortunately, she didn't survive it, but she can be that tale for us to be able to spread her love," Branson said.