First jury trial since the pandemic began
The first criminal jury trial in Platte County, Missouri since the COVID-19 pandemic began has ended with a guilty verdict.
Marqus Wilson, 22, of Kansas City, was found guilty on Oct. 20 of first degree robbery after a jury trial in Platte County Circuit Court.
Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd said, “This was the first criminal jury trial in Platte County in more than 19 months. While our courts reopened to jury trials in May, several trials were still postponed for a variety of reasons. We have a huge number of cases awaiting trial, and it’s good to finally begin to clear that backlog.”
Jurors, who heard the evidence while seated in the courtroom’s gallery and wearing face masks, deliberated for about two and one-half hours before reaching a verdict.
The jurors found Wilson robbed the Waffle House located at 9750 NW Prairie View Road near KCI Airport in the very early morning hours of October 30, 2018. Kansas City police officers responded to that location at approximately 2:50 a.m. in response to a 911 call reporting an armed robbery.
Upon arrival, employees told officers that two masked suspects came into the restaurant demanding money from the register. One of the suspects was armed with a gun and the other-later identified as Wilson-was armed with a knife.
During trial, an employee testified that when a coworker told the masked suspects that the gun appeared to be fake, the gunman pointed the gun at the south wall and shot off a round. Wilson then jumped onto the booth next to the register and said, “We’re on meth. Just give us the money. I’ll kill you.”
The victim testified Wilson swung the knife at her face. The suspects were handed approximately $300 and fled the scene.
An anonymous source provided information on three suspects believed to be involved in the robbery, including Wilson.
A Waffle House employee identified Wilson was the suspect with the knife. Wilson initially told detectives that he was not involved in the robbery before offering a confession in which he identified his accomplice.
Zahnd said, “This was a dangerous robbery that disturbed the safety and security citizens have a right to expect. People deserve to live in a place where these crimes are not tolerated, and this jury spoke for all Platte Countians with their verdict.”
Wilson faces 10 to 30 years or life in prison for the crime; sentencing is set for Dec. 15.
The case was investigated by the Kansas City Police Department. It was tried by assistant prosecuting attorneys Brice Barnard and Justin Kalwei.