Two men receive life sentences for decade-long drug conspiracy that included murders

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A Kansas City, Mo., man and a Crowder, Mississippi, man have been sentenced in federal court for their roles in a drug-trafficking conspiracy that included two murders.

Shawn Burkhalter, also known as “Deuce,” 35, of Kansas City, Mo., was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes to life in federal prison without parole. Co-defendant Joshua Nesbitt, also known as “T,” 30, was sentenced yesterday to life in federal prison without parole.

On Aug. 28, 2023, Burkhalter and Nesbitt each were found guilty at trial of one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana, one count of possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute, one count of possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute, one count of robbery, two counts of discharging a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence and a drug-trafficking crime, one count of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, one count of being felons in possession of a firearm, one count of conspiracy to commit witness and evidence tampering, one count of murdering a potential witness, and one count of evidence tampering. Additionally, Burkhalter was found guilty of one count of witness tampering.

Burkhalter and Nesbitt participated in a decade-long conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana from 2008 to Feb. 20, 2018. Six more co-defendants pleaded guilty and have been sentenced for their roles in the drug-trafficking conspiracy.

Trial evidence showed that on Sept. 10, 2015, Burkhalter and Nesbitt stole cocaine from Danny Lamont Dean, and in the process of that robbery, shot and killed Dean with a Rock River Arms AR-15, 5.56-caliber semi-automatic rifle.

On Oct. 4, 2015, Nesbitt and others stole marijuana from Anthony Dwayne Johnson, and in the process of that robbery, Nesbitt shot and killed Johnson with the same Rock River Arms AR-15, 5.56-caliber semi-automatic rifle, all of which was at the direction of Burkhalter (who was detained in custody at the time of the murder). Trial evidence showed Johnson was murdered because Burkhalter suspected him of providing information to investigators about Burkhalter’s involvement in Dean’s murder.

Burkhalter and Nesbitt robbed a Kansas City, Mo., business on Sept. 8, 2015, brandishing the same AR-15 rifle.

The government also presented evidence at yesterday’s sentencing hearing that Nesbitt repeatedly assaulted staff members at detention facilities while incarcerated and awaiting trial.

Co-defendants Sharika Hooker and Autry Hines, both of Kansas City, Mo.; Joslyn Lee, also known as “Bless,” and Nickayla Jones, both of Blue Springs, Mo.; Rachel Ryce of Raytown, Mo.; and Anthony Peltier, also known as “A-1,” of Lawrence, Kansas, have pleaded guilty and previously been sentenced.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Raskin, Patrick C. Edwards, and David Wagner. It was investigated by the FBI and the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department.


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