First details emerge in sealed Shawnee murder case
Related federal investigation is ongoing
More than a year after a 16-year-old girl discovered a bullet-pierced body on a desolate Shawnee road, details of the city’s only homicide of 2011 have begun to emerge.
At a preliminary hearing Monday for Jesus Esqueda-Perez — charged with first-degree murder in the death of 29-year-old Oswaldo Conde-Gamboa of Kansas City, Kan. — witnesses included the girl who found the body, as well as wives of both the victim and his alleged killer.
A Johnson County District Court order sealed Esqueda-Perez’s case shortly after his arrest.
The case remains sealed to protect a related, ongoing federal investigation that has since developed, assistant district attorney Lannie Ornburn said. Ornburn said authorities are actively seeking at least one other suspect in the homicide. Esqueda-Perez was bound over for trial, though a date has not been set.
In the opening hours of Monday’s hearing, Esqueda-Perez, 26, Shawnee, rarely looked up from the table where he sat next to his attorney, Carl Cornwell.
The girl, now 17 and identified in court only by her initials, found Conde-Gamboa’s body just after midnight Feb. 6, 2011, in the 4300 block of Lakecrest Drive.
Feb. 5 was her 16th birthday, and she received a new car that morning, she told the court. She’d been driving around after work and was headed home on 43rd Street when she veered into the snow to avoid being hit by a white car coming quickly toward her.
After the car passed, she continued east to where 43rd turns into Lakecrest Drive but had to stop because something was blocking the only passable lane of the road.
When she realized it was a man’s body, the girl stayed in her car and called 911.
The first Shawnee police officers on the scene said there were bullet holes in the man’s jacket and five shell casings, tire tracks and Nike sneaker footprints in the snow around him.
Esqueda-Perez’s wife, Raytashia Esqueda, said her husband had held a job as an industrial diesel mechanic for several years and rapped on the side — Dinero Fazil was his nickname, or in English, Easy Money.
Esqueda said her husband had MySpace and Facebook pages for his music but that he blocked her from them. He shot at least one rap video at a Kansas City, Kan., auto-body shop cited in the homicide investigation, but Esqueda said her husband never introduced her to anyone there.
A few months before the homicide, Esqueda-Perez got a second cell phone, a “walkie-talkie” model that his wife never got the bills for, as she did their other cell phones, she said. About once a month he’d be gone for a couple days, saying he was going to shows but never specifying exactly where.
Esqueda said a few times she noticed her husband with cash after his trips but he told her where he got it was none of her business.
“It was always private from me,” she said. “We didn’t have a good relationship.”
The evening of Feb. 5, the Esquedas had gone to dinner and picked up a movie on the way home to their Shawnee apartment. After taking a phone call in Spanish, Esqueda-Perez headed out about 11 p.m. but didn’t tell his wife where he was going.
Esqueda said her husband usually wore a pair of black and gray Nike tennis shoes.
The following day, after seeing the Shawnee homicide in news reports, Esqueda-Perez said her husband seemed shaken.
“He just didn’t seem normal,” she said.
Martha Conde-Torres, Conde-Gamboa’s wife, told the court through an interpreter that her husband had worked as a mechanic at the same Kansas City, Kan., auto-body shop for about three months but had been laid off and was unemployed at the time he was killed.
Torrez said she and her husband had been watching television together when he got a call about 10:45 p.m. and told whoever was on the line to “come on down.” Soon, her husband left in a white passenger car.
Torrez wept when she told the court he did not return home.