Ray Co. jury finds Excelsior man guilty of 2009 murder

By Eric Copeland/Excelsior Springs Standard

The jury in the trial of James P. Reardon deliberated for an hour and 10 minutes before returning a guilty verdict on all three counts he faced Friday at Ray County Circuit Court.

By a unanimous vote of the eight men and four women on the jury, Reardon was pronounced guilty of first degree murder, armed criminal action and knowingly burning a vehicle in connection with the Nov. 4-5, 2009, death of Carol A. Thomas of Excelsior Springs.

Testimony outlined how Thomas was kidnapped from a residential street in Excelsior Springs, spent some hours in the trunk of a borrowed Pontiac, then was shot to death and left lying in a ravine in Ray County. The car was then burned by the suspects, apparently to cover their tracks.

Ray County Prosecutor Danielle Rogers, assisted by Assistant Attorney General Sue Boresi, called witnesses – 27 in all – who explained the investigation and subsequent arrest of Reardon, Erik Zimmerman and Jennifer Saling, on Nov. 5, 2009. They also brought forth testimony from the trio’s friends, who saw the suspects on the night of the murder or the next morning.

Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 3.

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