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Press Release

Two Men Sentenced for Cyberstalking Conspiracy That Resulted in Murder of KC Man

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Missouri
Conspirators Used GPS Tracking Devices to Hunt Their Victim, Shoot Him in Front of His Minor Daughter

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Two men have been sentenced in federal court for their roles in a cyberstalking conspiracy that utilized GPS tracking devices to carry out the murder of a Kansas City, Mo., man by tracking him and shooting him to death in front of his minor daughter.

Michael Young, 32, of Independence, Mo., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Greg Kays on Wednesday, June 21, to 15 years in federal prison without parole. Co-defendant Ronell Pearson, 36, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, was sentenced today to five years in federal prison without parole. Both Young and Pearson pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy, and both have been detained in federal custody since their arrests in August 2019.

The court also ordered Young and Pearson to pay $19,012 in restitution to compensate the murder victim’s family for funeral and burial expenses, for which they are jointly and severally liable.

Co-defendant Lester E. Brown, 36, of Kansas City, Mo., was found guilty at trial on May 5, 2023, of one count of conspiracy to commit cyberstalking, one count of cyberstalking resulting in death, and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Brown’s sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.

Murder of Christopher Harris

Brown, Young, and Pearson participated in a conspiracy from Nov. 1, 2017, to March 19, 2018, to engage in the cyberstalking of Christopher Harris. Brown, the leader of the conspiracy, deployed multiple GPS devices on vehicles used by Harris and his associates to track their locations.

On March 14, 2018, Brown tracked Harris to a dance studio in Raytown, Mo. With Brown driving and Young and Pearson passengers, they followed Harris’s vehicle as he drove his daughter home from dance class and dropped her off at her mother’s residence in Independence. Brown pulled up behind Harris’s vehicle; Brown and Young got out of the car; and Brown shot a firearm multiple times into Harris’s vehicle, causing Harris to scream, “My daughter’s in the car!  My daughter is in the car!” Brown fired several more rounds at Harris as he ran to the door. Harris’s daughter was able to make it inside the house unharmed but Harris fell to the ground before he reached the house. Brown stood over him and fired two last rounds at him while he lay on the ground.

Prior to his murder, conspirators had been sending threatening messages to Harris using the social media service Snapchat. These messages included photographs of GPS devices, and demanded a payment to Brown of $10,000 per month.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew P. Wolesky and Nicholas P. Heberle. It was investigated by the Independence, Mo., Police Department, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, and the FBI.

Updated June 22, 2023

Violent Crime