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Public Defender Appointed To Represent Man Charged With Strangling Six

April 14, 1990

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ A man described as ″real likable″ and concerned over the safety of older residents of his homeless shelter was arraigned Saturday on charges of killing six of seven black women found strangled here.

The arrest of Ray Shawn Jackson, 22, came after another incident Monday in which a black woman was attacked and choked by an assailant who was scared away by a man out walking his dog.

Associate Jackson County Circuit Judge George Aylward appointed the public defender’s office to represent Jackson and scheduled his formal arraignment for April 25.

Aylward continued bond at $700,000 - $100,000 each on the six first-degree murder charges and the same amount for first-degree assault in the Monday attack.

The woman attacked then, who said she was knocked to the ground and choked by an assailant, identified Jackson from a photograph as her attacker.

Police Chief Larry Joiner estimated police had put in between 8,000 and 12,000 hours of investigation since Sept. 16, when the first of the killings in or near a midtown park occurred.

″The police work in this was incredible, it really was,″ Pat Peters, assistant Jackson County prosecutor, said after Saturday’s court appearance. A composite picture of a suspect was released last weekend, after the body of Michelle Mitchell, 22, was found April 5. The picture led to more than 300 phone calls, Joiner said.

Information that led officers to Jackson was developed during a neighborhood canvass Thursday by detectives. They found him at his grandmother’s home, where he sometimes stayed, and he agreed to come to headquarters for questioning that resulted in the charges.

Joiner said that all six women had been lured to their deaths by the offer of obtaining crack cocaine. Probable cause statements filed with the charges said Jackson told police he killed the women.

Jackson’s sister, who would identify herself only as Kim, told The Kansas City Star he was someone who ″didn’t want to listen.″

Snapping her fingers, she said, ″He’d be the sweetest person you’d ever know, and then, something would happen.″

″Number one, yes, my brother said he committed those murders,″ she said. ″Number two, we don’t know why. He’s hardheaded like any other normal person.″

William Johns, who knew Jackson from a homeless shelter where they both spent time, called him ″real likable.″ He and others there said he didn’t smoke or drink and while he got into an occasional fight, he would sometimes escort older people from the shelter to a nearby liquor store to keep them safe.

In addition to Ms. Mitchell, Jackson is charged with killing Annette Stewart, 33, whose body was found Sept. 16; Kimberly Creer, 22, found Sept. 20; Tresa Williams, 21, found Oct. 22; Janice Berryman, 36, found Oct. 28; and Tonya Ward, 23, found Jan. 18.

Joiner said the investigation had not produced evidence linking Jackson to the death of the seventh woman, Brenda McCoy, 33, who was found Sept. 26.

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