On Tuesday, a spokesperson for the FBI announced the agency would be investigating the killing of a black woman as a possible hate crime and is cooperating with local law enforcement agencies in its efforts, the Kansas City Star reports.
According to the news site, Ronald Lee Kidwell, the murder suspect, has insisted that MeShon Cooper’s killing was not premeditated, allegedly telling police that he lashed out in anger after Cooper attacked him in his own home threatening to “tell everyone” that he is HIV positive.
Cooper, he alleged, took a knife from her purse and struck him in the left hand, causing him to “flip out” and lash back.
“When I get mad, I make the exorcist look like a bitch,” he said, according to an affidavit.
During the struggle, he claims he gained control of the knife, stabbing Cooper and killing her.
The killing stunned Cooper’s family, who noted that the 43-year-old was known for her good humor and friendliness.
And those who knew Kidwell, including his own family, share a different story saying they were not surprised to find out that he is facing murder charges in the killing of Cooper, whose body was discovered in the Shawnee, Kan., home where he lived.
His daughter, Crystal Foster, labeled him as a white supremacist, someone who would always brag about his membership in the Ku Klux Klan, would send her photos of a swastika tattoo on his left arm, and drape himself in a Confederate flag, the Kansas City Star reports.
“He’s been a monster his whole life,” Foster, who was put in the foster care system as a child, said. “He’s the true definition of evil.”
Foster claimed that her father had once threatened to kill her and her three children, “if I ever spoke to a person of color.”
Kidwell is facing second-degree murder charges in the killing of Cooper who had been missing for a week before her body was discovered on July 14. His bond was set at $1 million.
Foster said her father had a history of assaults, targeting people based on their race and then bragging about it.
“He pretends to be ‘colored people’s’ friends and then he harms them,” Foster said, quoting her father’s words.
He has already spent some 15 years in prison for various assault charges, including a vicious attack on another black woman.
Back in 2011, he was charged with second-degree assault after striking a sleeping black woman in the head with a hammer and sexually assaulting her. For that crime, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to only five years in prison.
“Kidwell stated that he has been diagnosed with HIV and did not use a condom during the sexual activity,” police wrote.
Kidwell’s neighbor, Kathleen Brown, also agreed that Kidwell was racially motivated in his attack against Cooper.
“This was a hate crime,” Brown told the Star. “One hundred percent a hate crime.”
Brown said about 10 days before Cooper disappeared, she had visited Kidwell at his home. After Cooper left that day, Kidwell called her a “black bitch,” and also used a racial slur.
On July 6, Cooper went back to Kidwell’s house. When he went to get a beer, Brown said she and Cooper started chatting at Brown’s home. Cooper apparently told Brown that she was going to teach her how to make soul food, however by the next day she was missing, her vehicle found abandoned near a park.
Two days after Cooper’s disappearance, Kidwell asked Brown for trash bags and a handsaw, Brown claimed.
“If I would have known he was going to harm her in any way, I would have never let her leave my house,” Brown said.
His cousin, Shana Turner was also unsurprised to hear about the murder allegations, noting that Kidwell had been disowned by most of his family because of his racism.
“Whenever I was around him, he’d talk about white power,” she said. “It didn’t surprise me that [the victim] was black.”
Cooper leaves behind one child, a 25-year-old son. A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help her son and has raised $3,600 of it’s $10,000 goal in 7 days.