OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
MATT J. WHITWORTH
Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106
OCTOBER 21, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LOCAL TEAM EARNS PRESTIGIOUS NATIONAL AWARD FOR
PROSECUTING RACIALLY-MOTIVATED MURDER
RECOGNIZED BY ATTORNEY GENERAL HOLDER
AT ANNUAL AWARDS CEREMONY
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Matt J. Whitworth, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that the prosecution team involved in the successful investigation and conviction of a racially-motivated murder has received the prestigious Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys David M. Ketchmark and D. Michael Green and Financial Analyst Elsie Robinson received the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service, the department’s second-highest award for employee performance. Seventeen Distinguished Service awards are presented this year. Ketchmark, Green and Robinson were honored for their work in prosecuting Gary L. Eye and Steven Sandstrom, who received multiple life sentences after being convicted at trial for the racially-motivated murder of William McCay on March 9, 2005.
“Our prosecution team worked diligently, above and beyond the call of duty, to ensure that justice was served,” Whitworth said. “This was a significant civil rights case, not only for our office but for the entire community. This prestigious award is a reflection of the high standard of professionalism each one of the award recipients exhibits every day and a mark of the high caliber of employees who serve at the U.S. Attorney’s Office. I am proud of their work, and pleased that they are being recognized for their outstanding achievement.”
Attorney General Eric Holder recognized 247 Department of Justice employees for their distinguished public service today at the 57th Annual Attorney General Awards Ceremony. In addition, 39 individuals outside of the department were honored for their work. Held at Constitution Hall, this annual ceremony recognizes both department employees and others for their dedication to carrying out the Department of Justice’s mission.
“It is my privilege to honor these recipients for their outstanding service and commitment to our country,” Attorney General Holder said. “Each of these dedicated servants has carried out the important mission of the Department of Justice and has done so with excellence and distinction. Their varied accomplishments have advanced the interests of justice on behalf of the American people, and I’m proud to call them my colleagues.”
Eye and Sandstrom were convicted on May 8, 2008. Evidence presented at the trial proved that Eye and Sandstrom, who are white, were involved in two separate attacks against McCay, who was black, while he was walking to work at about 6 a.m. on March 9, 2005. Sandstrom was driving a stolen car with Eye in the front passenger seat. During the first attack, which occurred at 9th Street and Spruce in Kansas City, Eye fired Sandstrom’s .22-caliber revolver at McCay but missed him. McCay fled, but the defendants pursued him, driving around the block. At trial, it was determined McCay could have identified the defendants to law enforcement authorities, which motivated the two to continue pursuing the victim. When Eye and Sandstrom caught up with McCay, Eye got out of the vehicle and fatally shot him.
The jury found Eye and Sandstrom guilty of killing McCay because of his race and because he was using a public street. Eye and Sandstrom were also found guilty of shooting and killing McCay in order to prevent him from communicating information about the attack to a federal law enforcement officer. In addition, Eye and Sandstrom were convicted of two counts of aiding and abetting one another to use or discharge a firearm during a crime of violence, resulting in the murder of McCay.
In addition, Eye and Sandstrom were each found guilty of one count of aiding and abetting one another to destroy a stolen vehicle with the intent to impede or obstruct the possible investigation of a federal offense – along with one count of using fire to commit a felony offense. Eye was also found guilty on an additional count of interfering with federally protected activities (related to the first, non-fatal attack) and an additional count of using or discharging a firearm during and in relation to that crime of violence. Sandstrom was also found guilty of threatening to cause bodily injury to a cooperating government witness to retaliate against the witness for cooperating with law enforcement authorities.
The Eye and Sandstrom case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department.
This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at