Independence man charged in motel homicide

By Mike Genet

An Independence man has been charged with murder and another suspect has been arrested in connection with a fatal shooting early Monday.

Jackson County prosecutors Tuesday charged Steve Decker, 26, with second-degree murder, two counts of first-degree robbery and three counts of armed criminal action. He was arrested Monday at his home.


Decker is one of two suspects involved in the shooting death of Tomas Galvan, 36, of Independence, who was shot early Monday in a motel room off U.S. 40 near Phelps Road. He later died at the hospital.

A spokesperson for Independence Police said officers arrested a second person Tuesday, though no charges have been announced.

Officers were called about 4:25 a.m. for a shooting at the Executive Inn and Suites and found Galvan on the floor with a gunshot wound to the head. According to court documents, a woman with him said Galvan had come to the motel late Sunday to celebrate her birthday, then later called two men to get a ride home. She said Galvan argued with the men about them stealing something from him, and one of them later recognized Galvan as someone who had robbed a friend of his in the past.

The woman said Decker and the second man pointed guns at her and Galvan, told Galvan to “drop his pockets” and made him take off his shoes. When Galvan tried to grab a gun from one of the men, he shot Galvan in the head. The men then took Galvan’s property and the woman’s cell phone and driver’s license and fled.

The motel’s surveillance video showed the suspects’ vehicle, and the license plates were registered to Decker. Police also learned that afternoon Decker had picked up his son from school, and school staff said Decker had been crying and they overheard him say he was going to prison for 25 years. When police called Decker, he sounded upset and said he didn’t mean for it to happen and he was only giving someone a ride.

Decker was arrested without incident, and police found a gun inside the house where Decker said he’d left it.

Decker is being held on a $100,000 cash bond.