KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Jackson County jury has found 84-year-old David Jungerman guilty in the 2017 killing of a Kansas City attorney.
Jurors handed over the verdict after about two hours of deliberating Thursday afternoon.
Jungerman was charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action four years ago, accused of gunning down Brookside lawyer Tom Pickert in his front yard.
The jury found Jungerman guilty on both charges.
The decision came after closing arguments Thursday where the state argued Jungerman had motive because he had just lost a civil lawsuit worth nearly $6 million to Pickert’s client.
But Jungerman’s defense challenged the Kansas City Police Department’s investigation, arguing there was falsified evidence.
The trial began last week with emotional testimony from Pickert’s widow, Emily Riegel, who recalled hearing the gunshot then finding her husband dead.
“I saw blood coming from his head. He wasn’t moving. I just started screaming,” Riegel testified Sept. 13.
Prosecutors also pointed to video of what they said was Jungerman’s van leaving the scene. But Jungerman’s defense attorneys argued the vehicle didn’t belong to the 84-year-old and challenged the accuracy of the video’s date and time stamp.
They also challenged an audio recording where prosecutors said Jungerman can be heard saying, “I killed that son of a b****.”
It’s an audio recording that Jungerman’s lawyers said is incomplete, missing nearly 30 minutes.
Andrew Leroy, the attorney Pickert was on the phone with when he was killed, also testified last week, recounting what he remembered from the conversation.
“I heard a thump, and then I didn’t hear anything,” Leroy said.
Jungerman’s attorneys, however, argued that the Kansas City Police Department assumed Jungerman was guilty before even gathering all the evidence. The defense also said there were several instances were KCPD failed to file reports or documents were altered.
Competent for trial
Jungerman’s trial took a three-day pause because the 84-year-old had a COVID-19 exposure. Jungerman refused to take a COVID-19 test but also had multiple cognitive exams.
His attorneys filed a motion, arguing he wasn’t competent to proceed with trial because of his health.
After walking into the first day of his trial, at a hearing Tuesday, Jungerman was wheeled in and even had to be shaken awake amid arguments on his mental fitness.
Ultimately, the judge ruled Tuesday the trial would continue, saying the timing was inconsistent and he was skeptical of the motives.