One of the men who drove two burglars to the site where an Independence police officer was critically wounded in March 2017 has pleaded guilty.
James McChan, 58, of Kansas City pleaded guilty Friday to first-degree robbery and burglary and armed criminal action. He had also been charged with kidnapping and was slated to go on trial Monday in Independence.
McChan is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 2 by Circuit Judge Jack Grate. He is the second convicted man among the four defendants charged in the March 2017 home invasion in Independence that ultimately led to Officer Tom Wagstaff's career-ending injury. He faces 10 to 30 years or life in prison for the robbery, at least three years for armed criminal action and five to 15 years for burglary.
According to court documents, McChan and Donald Nussbaum, 53, drove two others to the neighborhood where the home invasion and kidnapping took place. Wagstaff was hit in the head with a freak bullet ricochet when the burglars escaped through the garage – busting through the door in the victim's vehicle – after police surrounded the house.
Nussbaum faces the same charges McChan did and is scheduled for trial July 15. Ronar Santiago-Torres, 29, is charged with robbery, attempted robbery, burglary, kidnapping, assault of a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest and armed criminal action. Those two defendants have remained in jail on cash bonds of $500,000.
One defendant, Joseph Wyatt, 29, was found guilty of eight counts in a bench trial, though he was found not guilty of assault of a law enforcement officer. Wyatt tried to carjack another victim after he and Santiago-Torres fled the scene and the disabled vehicle stopped in the road. He is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 25.