KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) — After waiting nearly four years to see charges filed against the suspected killer of a 3-year-old boy, family members are one step closer to seeing the suspect go to trial.
On Wednesday, the Jackson County prosecutor announced Derrick D. Wren Jr. is charged with second degree murder, unlawful use of a weapon and two counts of first-degree assault.
Wren is accused of shooting into a car killing three-year-old Marcus Haislip III.
Investigators believe evidence collected during the lengthy investigation will prove 28-year-old Wren shot at a car on May 12, 2017 near 54th and Park. Three-year-old Marcus Haislip III, his father and uncle were inside the car. All three were shot. The boy’s dad drove the car to the Research Medical Center for help, but the child did not survive.
“This is a precious three-year-old who no one can have an argument with,” Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said. “Nobody can have a disagreement with.”
Last year in Kansas City, MO two other children under the age of 10 were victims of homicide. Twenty other homicide victims in 2020 were between the ages of 10-20. There were also 119 non-fatal shooting victims between the ages of 10-20 last year.
According to court records, in 2019 the Missouri State Highway Patrol Crime Lab notified detectives that DNA from a Styrofoam cup found at the crime scene matched Wren. In September and November of 2020, new witnesses told detectives that Wren had confessed to killing the three-year-old. One witness said the murder weapon was hidden in the backyard of one of Wren’s relatives.
KCTV5 News spoke to Marcus’s mother and father in 2017. “It’s like a piece of my soul gets chipped away every time I think about him,” his father said at the time. On Wednesday, Peters Baker read a statement from Marcus’s mother. The mom said their family misses Marcus every day. “Paw Patrol, Spiderman, Oreo cookies and chocolate milk, were some of his favorites. He wanted to become a football player when he got older,” the mother’s statement read. “There were times I felt I wouldn’t see any progress. So, for even making it here, I am grateful. Marcus was my third child, such a sweetheart. He loved his family. He loved music.”
Wren who was already in custody for a federal charge of attempting to acquire a gun while under indictment is being held on a $250,000 bond for Wednesday’s charges.
Three-year-old Marcus’s father, Marcus D. Haislip Jr., is facing charges accused of shooting two people at a gas station in 2019 including a man described as a person of interest in his son’s death. Prosecutors have not confirmed whether Wren is the person that was shot. The other victim was a security guard. Both men survived.
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