A Kansas City couple has been charged in the July 14 double-shooting outside a McDonald's in western Independence that left one man dead and injured another.
Jackson County prosecutors charged Matthew Woodward, 34, and his wife Erica Williams, 32, each with second-degree murder and armed criminal action and also charged Woodward with first-degree assault and another count of armed criminal action.
Brian Jones-Woodruff, 23, of Kansas City, died at the hospital following the July 14 afternoon shooting, which happened at the McDonald's off U.S. 40 near Interstate 70 in the Blue Ridge Crossing area. He apparently had been an innocent bystander, while another man, the apparent target of the shooting, was injured.
According to court documents, initial witness interviews and confidential informants pointed police in Woodward's direction, and a search warrant for his cell phone data showed he had received a call from a female witness shortly before the shooting.
That witness had called Woodward from a Wal-Mart customer service phone, scared about an encounter she'd just had with the injured shooting victim. The witness said that victim had been threatening her. She called Woodward because she knew he and Williams were in the area. Williams then met the witness inside Wal-Mart, and they went outside and got into Williams' white SUV that Woodward drove.
Woodward told the witness he would rob the victim, but when she spotted the man outside McDonald's, Woodward drove around and started shooting. Jones-Woodruff, whom the witness said was her friend, had been standing next to the injured victim, and the witness said she became hysterical after seeing him shot and didn't remember where Woodward drove as he sped away from the scene.
According to court documents, Williams filed a police report two days after the shooting to report a stolen vehicle. Police found the vehicle, which matched the suspect vehicle description, the next day. One man told police he had received the vehicle from a third party who had communicated with the vehicle's owner and had been directed to damage the vehicle for insurance money.
Kansas City Police recovered a gun in a separate case that Williams purchased in March. When police test-fired the gun, shell casings matched those recovered at the shooting scene.
A judge set bond at $400,000 for Woodward and $200,000 for Williams.