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Attorney General's News Release

November 1, 2013

Attorney General Koster announces first-degree murder conviction in Kansas City case

Jefferson City, Mo. -- Attorney General Chris Koster said today that a Jackson County jury found Tawanda Kunonga, 29, of Kansas City, guilty October 29 of first degree murder and armed criminal action in the killing of Latoya Hopkins of Raytown.

Kunonga murdered his ex-girlfriend Latoya Hopkins in her home in June 2010 by stabbing her and beating her with a meat tenderizer.  Kunonga left his fingerprint and palm print in the victim's blood and his DNA was found at the crime scene.

"This was a horrific crime," Koster said.  "While nothing can lessen the loss for the victim’s friends and family, at least the conviction brings some measure of justice."

The defendant represented himself throughout the pre-trial proceedings and throughout the seven day jury trial.

Jackson County Circuit Judge Charles McKenzie presided over the trial, and assistant attorneys general Julie Tolle and Monty Platz served as special prosecutors. Sentencing is scheduled for December 4, 2013. The only possible sentence under Missouri law is life in prison without the possibility of probation or parole.

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