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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City man was convicted of murdering his next door neighbor just before her 25th birthday.
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said in a tweet that a jury convicted Russell of first-degree murder, first-degree sodomy, burglary, stealing and tampering with a motor vehicle and physical evidence in the death of Ashley Geddes.
Geddes was found dead in her townhome near East 45th Place and Willow on June 1, 2017. At the time of her murder, neighbors told FOX 4 Geddes had only lived in the residence for about five months.
Cedrick Oliver Russell, Geddes’ next door neighbor, was charged with first-degree murder, first-degree sodomy, first-degree burglary, stealing for taking her rings and cell phone, tampering with a motor vehicle and tampering with physical evidence for taking her cell phone and destroying it.
Prosecutors had DNA evidence tying Russell to the crime as well as his fingerprint on Geddes’ window sill. He also pawned her jewelry.
“What was important for us in the case was DNA evidence. So, we had a crime lab that had to work through some very stressful hours to get us evidence as quickly as possible, but to secure it through their usual course of business,” Peters-Baker said after Russell was charged.
“The Kansas City, Mo. Police Department has been extremely busy but they continued to work this case with one lead after the other after the other… The DNA was the real break for us. Reports of finding her car, reports of her jewelry being pawned. Those are all things that sort of brought us back to the same person and that was the next door neighbor in this case.”
During a news conference after the charges were filed, Geddes’ mother, Stacey Gicante said her daughter was an aspiring model and lived her life to the fullest.
“My daughter, Ashley Geddes was an intelligent, caring, loving, beautiful person inside and out. She would have helped anybody with anything. She was a singer, songwriter, model, Sunday school teacher that had just been baptized. All of this while working a full-time job and taking care of her mom because it was just her and I. She loved life and lived her life to the fullest and she did not deserve this.”