Kansas City area woman gets life sentence for first-degree murder in fatal shooting

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A Greenwood woman has been sentenced to life in prison in the killing of a 52-year-old man fatally shot inside his Kansas City apartment in 2017, the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office said Friday.

Caitlyn Riffle, 28, was handed a sentence of life plus 15 years on Thursday after she was found guilty in April by a Jackson County jury of first-degree murder and armed criminal action. She is the second half of a Jackson County couple convicted of murdering Rodney Thurber over an argument about a gun.

According to court records, Riffle was an accomplice of alleged trigger-man Patrick Powell, her boyfriend at the time. In interviews with police, Riffle allegedly said she started living with Powell in Greenwood a few weeks before the shooting.

While staying with Powell, she came across a handgun and asked Thurber to hold on to it because being around it made her nervous, Riffle told police. But Powell wanted the gun back and both went to his apartment to get it.

Shortly before Thurber was killed, a witness who lived with Thurber told police Riffle had come to the apartment to retrieve the handgun. Riffle left and Powell knocked on the door shortly after. That’s when Powell burst in and shot Thurber twice, according to court records

Powell then told Thurber “Remember me, b----!” before announcing his name and shooting Thurber again as Thurber was on the floor with a bullet wound, court records said.

The shooting happened Nov. 11, 2017 in the 4600 block of Tracy Avenue. Officers found Thurber with multiple gunshot wounds, and he was declared dead at the scene.

Investigators used surveillance video from the scene and surrounding area, cell phone records and the gun’s serial number — it was legally purchased — to track down Powell. He and Riffle were arrested roughly one month after the shooting.

Powell was also convicted of first-degree murder and armed criminal action. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole plus 10 years.