With an autopsy report Monday stating that Jevon Belcher shot Kasandra Perkins, his girlfriend and mother of his three-month-old daughter, nine times before later killing himself last month, came the speculation that the tragedy could have been averted had police acted earlier when they encountered the Kansas City Chiefs linebacker.
Officers found Belcher drunk and asleep behind the wheel of his Bentley about five hours before he came home to the house he shared with Perkins, argued with her and shot her in the neck, chest, abdomen, hip, back, leg and hand.
The questions arise why Belcher was not apprehended when police encountered him hours earlier instead of letting him go. The Jackson County Medical Examiner said his blood alcohol level was 0.17, more than twice the limit of 0.08 percent – and was likely even higher at the time of the murder, the examiner said.
A police report released previously said Belcher had gone out the night before with a woman he was dating, while Perkins attended a concert with her friends. Police, who found Belcher sleeping in his Bentley outside the woman’s apartment, told him to turn off the ignition and he complied, the report said.
The report further said Belcher “initially displayed possible signs of being under the influence (asleep and disoriented).” But the report added that after a few minutes of being awake his “demeanor and communication became more fluid and coherent.” The report added that officers did not smell alcohol on Belcher, and that there were no signs of him being “violent or emotionally unstable.”
Under both city ordinance and state law, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated, city prosecutor Lowell C. Gard said in an email to The Associated Press. He said a vehicle doesn’t need to be in motion for it to be determined that the person behind the wheel was operating it.
“Operation has been defined in Missouri courts to include a wide range of activity, including sitting behind the wheel of a parked car with the engine running, and sitting alone behind the wheel of a parked car with a warm, but shut off, engine,” Gard wrote. “However, problems of proof arise when the arresting officer must provide evidence of that operation contemporaneous with intoxication.”
Kansas City Police Sgt. Marisa Barnes said in an email that she wasn’t aware of anyone being disciplined over the case. Belcher, according to the report, asked the officers who found him if he could stay inside the apartment for the night. Belcher tried to call his girlfriend, but she didn’t discover the missed calls until the next morning. Two women who were up late invited Belcher to wait inside their nearby apartment after he explained his plight.
They said Belcher “appeared to be intoxicated,” but “seemed to be in good spirits,” the police report said. Belcher slept on their couch for a couple hours, leaving at 6:45 a.m. so he could make it to a team meeting planned for later that morning.
Instead, he kissed the murdered Perkins, his daughter and his mother, Cheryl Shepherd, before heading to Arrowhead Stadium and killing himself in front of team personnel.