Dispute over firewood led to confrontation, gunfire
A Platte County grand jury has declined to indict a man in a February shooting that left two men dead in Parkville. Kalob Lawson, 34, of Kimberling City, and Jonathan Lutz, 44, of Kansas City, were shot after delivering a disputed amount of firewood to a Parkville home.
Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd said, “This is a tragic case in which two people died in a dispute over a mere $200 of firewood, and our thoughts and prayers are with their families. Ultimately, however, after carefully considering the facts and hearing from multiple witnesses, the grand jury found no crime had been committed in the shooting.”
According to Zahnd, on Feb. 10, Lawson and Lutz were paid $200 to deliver a cord of firewood to a home in Platte County.
After paying for the firewood, and as Lawson, Lutz, and another person were unloading the wood, the owner of the home left. The men stopped unloading the firewood and left the home shortly after the owner, delivering far less than a cord of wood.
The owner’s 22-year-old son saw what happened and called his father, who promptly dialed 911. As the father was calling 911, the son chased after Lawson and Lutz in his own vehicle.
The son caught up to Lawson and Lutz’s vehicle, and both vehicles stopped on the shoulder of eastbound Highway 9, just west of the Please Stop convenience store.
According to witnesses, the son stepped out of his vehicle and said something like, “Are you just going to rob my dad?”
Lawson and Lutz got out of the vehicle, and Lawson was armed with a 9mm handgun. The son told investigators that Lawson said something to the effect of, “You better get back in your car and go back to daddy or we are going to [expletive] you up.” The son said Lawson and Lutz were walking toward him, and Lawson raised his gun and pointed it at the son.
The son then reached into his open car door, removed a gun that was in a magnetic holster near his steering wheel, and fired multiple times.
Lawson was hit by bullets in the chest and face, and Lutz was hit in the abdomen and shoulder. Lawson died at the scene, and Lutz was transported to a hospital, where he later died.
The son left the scene, returned home, and called 911 to tell police that he had shot two people. He then voluntarily surrendered to sheriff’s deputies.
Zahnd said, “Missouri’s ‘stand your ground’ law means people do not have to retreat before using force to defend themselves if they are in a place they have a right to be. And while people can never use deadly force merely to protect property, they can use deadly force if they reasonably believe deadly force is necessary to protect themselves against death or serious physical injury.”
The case was investigated by the Parkville Police Department with the assistance of the Platte County Sheriff’s Department and the Kansas City Police Department Crime Scene Unit. It was prosecuted by Zahnd and assistant prosecuting attorneys Myles Perry and Collin VanOstran.