Jury convicts Kansas City man of cyberstalking conspiracy that ended in fatal shooting

A Kansas City man was convicted in federal court Friday in an alleged cyberstalking conspiracy where a GPS device was used to stalk and kill a person in 2018.

Lester E. Brown, 36, was found guilty by a federal jury on three felony counts: conspiracy to commit cyberstalking, unlawful gun possession and cyberstalking resulting in death.

Two others — Michael Young, 32, and Ronnell Pearson, 36 — pleaded guilty prior to Brown’s conviction. They await sentencing.

Prosecutors say Brown, Young and Pearson acted together to track and murder 30-year-old Christopher Harris in March 2018. According to court records, investigators found there was a longstanding feud between Brown and Harris as rival marijuana dealers.

Harris was shot and killed while picking up his then-8-year-old daughter from a Raytown dance studio and dropping her off at her mother’s Independence home. The three men allegedly followed him that day, and fatally shot him in front of his kid.

Brown allegedly stood over Harris and fired the final two shots. The child was not physically harmed.

Prosecutors say the three men had been sending threatening messages to Harris and were demanding monthly payments from him of $10,000. Investigators determined they had also followed his girlfriend and put tracking devices associated with Harris.

Prosecutors said the case was also tied to the 2013 killing of Ryan Cobbins, a 25-year-old found shot to death in a vacant Kansas City house.

Cobbins was reported missing in October 2013 after he missed an appointment for a haircut. Harris allegedly arranged a $20,000 payment to Brown seeking the safe return of Cobbins, a friend of his.

Fourteen months later, Cobbins was found dead of multiple gunshot wounds in the 3500 block of Flora Avenue.

Under federal law, Brown faces a maximum penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole. A sentencing hearing in his case had yet to be scheduled Monday afternoon.