A convicted murderer and his attorney face charges over a cell phone and a charger – a possible weapon that could be used to strangle someone – smuggled into the Jackson County Detention Center.
Ce-Antonyo D. Kennedy, 19, of Kansas City, who is an inmate at the jail, faces a felony charge of possessing a weapon in a jail and two misdemeanor charges of delivering or concealing prohibited articles on jail premises. Attorney Juliane Leigh Colby, 39, faces a single misdemeanor charge of acting alone or with someone else to deliver or conceal prohibited items.
According to court documents, one evening in late February, as an inmate removed his headphones from a TV in a common area, a guard noticed a gray Alcatel smartphone fall from its resting place behind the TV. A forensic laboratory identified it as having been used by Kennedy and recovered 73 text messages between Kennedy and Colby on Feb. 2, among other messages.
Colby, a public defender, was among the attorneys defending Kennedy at his murder trial this spring; he was convicted in April of killing a 14-year-old-girl at the Bay Water Park in Kansas City in 2015. Jail records also show that she visited him in the jail 33 times from Jan. 6 to April 10, before his murder trial.
A Jackson County Sheriff’s Department report with the charges called the Feb. 2 text messages “sexually suggestive.” That report also notes several times in which corrections officers at the jail saw behavior by Colby that they called odd and inappropriate and said made them uncomfortable. At times, she was sitting or standing very close to him, appeared to touch his leg and “appeared to be very clingy with Ce-Antonyo Kennedy.” At one point, she brought clothes for him “and asked if she could go in the room with him while he was trying on the clothes.”
Also, the Sheriff’s Department probable-cause statement says, county Department of Corrections officials were told April 22 that jail inmates were posting videos to Facebook. One video included Kennedy. A search of his cell turned up a second phone and an envelope with a stack of legal paperwork – including “a section that appeared to be carved out to hide the cellphone” – as well as a pair of women’s underwear.
There was also a cell-phone charger in a peanut butter container, and the probable-cause statement says, “Cell phone chargers constitute an additional danger in a jail environment,” adding “... the cord can be used as a garrote to effect a strangulation.”
The two phones, the charger and the women’s underwear are all contraband, and the probable-cause statement says Colby “reasonably had to know” Kennedy was on a contraband phone when they texted and had a “documented willingness to provide items to Mr. Kennedy in violation of jail regulations.”