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Jury Convicts two Kansas City, Missouri, Men for Racially-Motivated Murder

Federal Civil Rights Charges Stem from 2005 Murder of William McCay

WASHINGTON – Two Kansas City, Mo., men were convicted by a federal jury today for the racially-motivated murder of William McCay on March 9, 2005, announced Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and John F. Wood, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri.

Gary L. Eye, 21, and Steven Sandstrom, 22, both of Kansas City, were found guilty of shooting and 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. Under federal statutes, Eye and Sandstrom are subject to either the death penalty or life in federal prison without parole for those convictions.

Eye and Sandstrom were also found guilty 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. Under federal statutes, they are subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in federal prison without parole, up to either the death penalty or life in federal prison without parole, for those convictions.

Evidence presented during the trial indicated that Eye and Sandstrom were involved in two separate attacks against McCay while he was walking to work at about 6 a.m. on March 9, 2005. Sandstrom was driving a stolen 2003 Dodge Intrepid with Eye in the front passenger seat and Regennia Rios, a witness who testified during the trial, in the back seat. In the first incident, which occurred at 9th Street and Spruce, Eye fired a .22-caliber revolver at McCay but missed him. Sandstrom drove around the block looking for McCay, who could have identified them to law enforcement authorities. When they caught up with McCay at 9th Street and Brighton, Eye got out of the vehicle and fatally shot him. The capital charges are related to the second, fatal attack against McCay.

The penalty phase of the trial will begin on Monday, May 12, 2008.

In addition to the capital charges, Eye and Sandstrom were found guilty of one count of aiding and abetting one another to destroy the Dodge Intrepid 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 of 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 a crime of violence. Sandstrom was also found guilty of threatening to cause bodily injury to Rios to retaliate against her for cooperating with law enforcement authorities.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David M. Ketchmark and D. Michael Green for the District of Western Missouri, and Trial Attorney Eric L. Gibson for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department.