Witnesses help lead to arrests in KC homicides

Posted at 7:47 AM, Sep 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-21 08:47:02-04

In 2014, 30 percent of homicides in Kansas City went unsolved and community leaders say there’s one main reason for that.

However, they believe that’s changing.

Pat Clarke started a community basketball court near 44th and South Benton Avenue.

It’s a place where Clarke wants kids to feel safe and productive.

“What I wanted to do was create a place that not only teach them basketball but teach them life,” he said.

It is small changes that he hopes makes a big difference off the court.

Clarke works with Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forte and one hurdle they’ve struggled to change is the “no snitching mentality.”

“That's just as bad. That person should have pulled the trigger too, because that's what you just did when you don't say something, you might as well as pulled the trigger,” said Clarke.

This week, police and prosecutors credited witnesses with coming forward and helping lead to arrests.

“To those who say witnesses do not come forward, you're wrong. To those who confuse a witness and a snitch, you're wrong, they're heroes,” said Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker at a news conference this week.

That included at least five witnesses who helped prosecutors file charges against Joseph Nelson in the murder of two teens and an infant boy.

It’s a trend Clarke is hopeful will continue.

“Again, the concept of snitching is changing because people are tired.”

Still, in 2015, 50 percent of homicides in Kansas City remain unsolved.