June 19, 2013
Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster today announced that a Boone County jury found Cassandra Elaine Johnston of Kansas City guilty of first-degree murder for the 2011 murder of Edward Jefferson, also of Kansas City. The jury also found Johnston guilty on related charges of armed criminal action and tampering with a motor vehicle.
Johnston's trial was moved from Montgomery County to Boone County, where the Attorney General’s Office assisted the Montgomery County Prosecutor in the case. The evidence presented at trial showed that Johnston hired 55-year old Edward Jefferson to drive her, her mother, Cassandra Jean Pickens, and her brother, Marcus Pickens, from Kansas City to Illinois. On June 30, 2011, Johnston shot and killed Jefferson and left his body in the parking lot of the Danville Quarry off Interstate 70 in Danville, Mo. Johnston claimed she disposed of the pistol and other evidence during the drive. Jefferson’s car was found abandoned and burned in Kansas City.
"It is my hope that the conviction of Edward Jefferson’s murderer will bring some degree of closure to those close to him," said Koster.
The verdicts were handed down on June 14. Boone County Circuit Judge Gary Oxenhandler set Johnston’s sentencing for July 15. Johnston faces life imprisonment without the possibility of probation or parole for first-degree murder, from three years to life imprisonment for armed criminal action, and up to seven years for first-degree tampering. Johnston's mother and brother are awaiting trial on second-degree murder and motor vehicle theft charges.
Assistant Attorneys General Brent Nelson and Katharine Dolin assisted Montgomery County Prosecuting Attorney Nathan Carroz with this case.