Kansas City Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for Cyberstalking, Murder

Offender placed tracking devices on victim's vehicle

Christopher Harris was dropping his daughter off at home in 2018 when a car pulled behind his in the driveway and someone inside it began shooting.

Harris safely rushed his 8-year-old daughter into her mother’s house in Independence, Missouri, but he was wounded by gunfire and fell to the ground before he could get inside. The gunman approached Harris while he was down, stood over him, and fired two rounds into Harris, killing him in view of his daughter.

The Independence Police Department began investigating Harris' March 14, 2018, murder and requested help from the FBI’s Kansas City Field Office. Together, the agencies dissected physical evidence from the crime scene—including the seizure of Harris' vehicle as evidence—and took witness statements. One piece of evidence completely changed the landscape of the case: a GPS tracking device discovered to have been previously deployed on Harris' vehicle.

Investigators concluded that Harris was likely targeted and tracked before his murder. The Kansas City FBI’s Violent Crime Task Force then combed through a substantial amount of both physical and digital evidence. Fingerprints found on the GPS tracking device were traced back to convicted felon Lester E. "Lucky" Brown—and digital evidence revealed a connection between Brown and Harris.

"There was a significant amount of digital evidence—historical cell site data, email accounts, financial accounts were found to possess a vast amount of digital evidence that later proved instrumental in the successful outcome of the investigation," said Loran Freeman, a detective for the Independence Police Department who is also on the FBI task force.

"One thing builds on another, and before you know it, you’ve got a mountain of evidence to sort through. It required a significant amount of work through the evidence that was produced from an equally significant amount of legal processes, including many search warrants. Essentially, it was a traditional homicide investigation conducted with a very deep dive into the digital world."

Investigators discovered that prior to Harris' murder, Brown sent threatening messages to Harris via the social media app Snapchat. These messages included photos of GPS devices and demands of monthly $10,000 payments to be made to Brown from Harris.

A long-term feud involving their work as marijuana dealers led to Brown’s exploitation and attempted extortion of Harris. Investigators learned through the analysis of the evidence, and witness information, on the night of Harris' death, Brown was assisted by two co-conspirators, Ronell Pearson and Michael Young.

The FBI also determined that Brown had, over an extended period of time, installed several GPS devices on Harris' vehicles to track his location and that the conspirators also participated in the tracking.

In January 2018, the men followed Harris' girlfriend from her work to the home she shared with Harris. A month later, the men installed a GPS tracking device on Harris' vehicle and used a tracking service that gave his real-time location. Then, on March 12, 2018, a month after the initial bugging of Harris, and two days before the murder, another GPS device was placed on Harris’ vehicle.

"Harris' murder was exceptionally violent," said Freeman. "Compared to the murder investigations I’ve participated in, it's not common you find someone who's willing to assassinate someone, especially when a child is present."

In fact, while in custody, Brown bragged about the murder—specifically the fact that he was able to kill Harris in front of his daughter. Brown even proclaimed that he should’ve killed Harris’ daughter as well.

Brown was found guilty on May 5, 2023, of one count of conspiracy to commit cyberstalking, one count of cyberstalking resulting in death, and one count of possession of a firearm as a convicted felon and was sentenced in October to life in prison. The case against Brown marked the first filing of both the cyberstalking charge and the cyberstalking resulting in death charge in the Western District of Missouri.

FBI Kansas City’s Violent Crime Task Force continues to investigate similar cases in hopes of making their streets safer and sending violent crimes to prosecution at the federal level.

"Kansas City will continue to monitor and review state and local homicide investigations that are particularly heinous that could potentially be better served as a venue in federal court versus a local court," said Nathan Kim, a supervisory special agent in the Kansas City Field Office.

Partnerships with local and state law enforcement—like the one between the FBI and the Independence Police Department—are key to these efforts. "The relationship has proven itself invaluable time and time again," said Freeman.

"If it wasn't for that relationship, our community back home would suffer. The partnership between the Independence Police Department and the FBI contributes to a safer environment in Independence, while helping to bring a justice to the victims of violent crimes and their loved ones. The United States Attorney’s Office also plays a significant role in their willingness to and skillful handling of such complex investigations and bringing these cases before the court for prosecution."

"There was a mountain of digital evidence—historical cell site data, email accounts, financial accounts were found to possess a vast amount of digital evidence that later proved instrumental in the successful outcome of the investigation."

Independence Police Department
Detective Loran Freeman