KC, Mississippi men sentenced to life in federal prison

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The two men who were convicted in an August 2023 trial for their roles in a drug trafficking scheme that included two murders were sentenced this week in federal court.

Shawn “Deuce” Burkhalter, 35, of Kansas City, Missouri, was sentenced to life in federal prison without the possibility of parole by U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes on June 21. His co-defendant, Joshua “T” Nesbitt, 30, of Crowder, Mississippi, was also sentenced the day before to life in federal prison without parole.

The government filed a statement of intent to seek the death penalty for both defendants in 2019. The trial began on August 7, 2023.

On August 28, 2023, Burkhalter and Nesbitt were both convicted at trial of one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana, one count of possession of cocaine with l intent to distribute, one count of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, one count of robbery, two counts of discharging a firearm in the course of a crime of violence and a crime of drug trafficking, one count of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, one count of felon in possession of a firearm, one count of conspiracy to tamper with witnesses and evidence, one count of murder of a potential witness and one count of tampering with evidence. Burkhalter was convicted of an additional count of witness tampering.

From 2008 to 2018, Burkhalter and Nesbitt engaged in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana. Six other co-defendants pleaded guilty and were sentenced for their roles in the conspiracy.

Trial evidence shows that Burkhalter and Nesbitt stole cocaine from Danny Lamont Dean on September 10, 2015, shooting and killing him with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.

Less than a month later, on October 4, Nesbitt and others stole marijuana from Anthony Dwayne Johnson. During the robbery, Nesbitt shot and killed Johnson with the same AR-15 rifle. Trial evidence shows the crime was the fault of Burkhalter, who was in custody at the time of the murder. Trial evidence also shows that Johnson was killed because Burkhalter suspected him of providing information to investigations regarding Burkhalter's involvement in Dean's murder.

Burkhalter and Nesbitt robbed a Kansas City, Mo., business in September 2015, brandishing the same AR-15 rifle.

The government provided evidence at the June 20 sentencing hearing that Nesbitt assaulted detention center staff on multiple occasions while awaiting trial.

Co-defendants Shakira Hooker and Autry Hines, both of Kansas City, Joslyn Lee and Nickayla Jones, both of Blue Springs, Rachel Ryce of Raytown and Anthony Peltier of Lawrence pleaded guilty and had previous convictions.

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