A Jackson County couple has been charged in the fatal shooting of an Independence man last month in central Kansas City.
Prosecutors on Tuesday charged Patrick Powell, 29, of Greenwood, and 24-year-old Caitlyn Riffle each with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the shooting death of 52-year-old Rodney Thurber. Riffle had been known to live in Independence but told police she recently had been staying in Greenwood with Powell, along with her two young children, because she is homeless.
Police found Thurber dead from multiple gunshots after responding to the 4600 block of Tracy Avenue in the early evening of Nov. 11. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Police found four spent casings at the scene.
According to court records, a female witness told police a woman believed to be Riffle visited Thurber's apartment to retrieve a handgun. A short time after the woman left, a man who knocked on the door and then pushed his way inside shot Thurber twice, identified himself as Riffle's boyfriend Patrick and shot Thurber again before leaving.
Police used video from near the residence, a fast food restaurant around the corner and Walmart stores in Lee's Summit and Independence, information from Thurber's cell phone, a gun trace and Department of Revenue records to point the investigation toward Powell and Riffle. The gun had been purchased by Powell's mother, and Riffle had been driving the suspect vehicle, a silver BMW that had been reported stolen in Kansas City five days before the shooting and was abandoned a day after the shooting a Walmart parking lot.
The two were arrested together Monday by KCPD at the QuikTrip on U.S. 24 in northeast Independence.
Riffle claimed to police that she tried to retrieve the handgun from the Tracy Avenue residence, but a female there said the gun wasn't there. She then took Powell there so he could retrieve the gun himself. When Powell re-entered the vehicle, he said, “We're good,” and they left the area. Riffle denied knowing Powell shot anyone.
When police told her the witness said Riffle had already retrieved the handgun before the shooting, Riffle asked for an attorney.
Prosecutors requested a $500,000 cash bond for each defendant.