Kansas City man found guilty of murder in 2018 shooting of Thomas J. Rice

A Kansas City man has been found guilty in the shooting death of a 44-year-old whose body was discovered by a parked car in the city’s Leeds neighborhood nearly four years ago.

Aasim I. Karim, 56, was found guilty Monday by a Jackson County jury of first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of Thomas J. Rice III. Police discovered Rice’s dead body near the intersection of U.S. 40 and Manchester Trafficway on Jan. 4, 2018.

According to court records, Rice was found near the driver’s side door of his vehicle on the road. Police found that he had been shot once in the head. A .40 caliber shell casing was located nearby.

Witnesses told police one of Rice’s neighbors had been firing a handgun in his yard. Police were given a description of the man’s vehicle. They were also told the same man, later identified as Karim, had been asking around about Rice’s whereabouts shortly before the shooting and had threatened to shoot him.

Karim was later identified by witnesses from a photo lineup. Police said at the time that video surveillance had captured his car near the crime scene around the time of the killing.

A pistol magazine was discovered on Karim’s person when he was arrested later that week. A search was also done in his home, where investigators found “a significant amount” of live ammunition along with a loaded shotgun. Spent shell casings were found in the back of the house that matched the one found at the shooting scene.

Rice was Kansas City’s first homicide victim of 2018. There were 136 killings reported that year, according to The Star’s data.

Karim is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 13.