KEY POINTS

  • A Missouri man has been sentenced to life without parole for the 2017 death of a 24-year-old woman
  • The man stole her jewelry, phone and car and pawned off some items after strangling the woman to death
  • He claimed to have been romantically involved with the victim and that he choked her during sex at her request

A 29-year-old man in Kansas City, Missouri, has been sentenced to life without parole, plus at least 30 years, for strangling to death a 24-year-old woman four years ago.

Cedric Russell was convicted in April by a Jackson County jury of first-degree murder, first-degree sodomy, second-degree burglary, stealing, first-degree tampering with a motor vehicle and tampering with physical evidence in connection with the death of Ashley Geddes, KSHB reported.

Russell also was sentenced Thursday to seven years for second-degree burglary and tampering with a motor vehicle, to be served concurrently. He will serve four years in prison for tampering with physical evidence and one year for stealing.

Russell had claimed to have been romantically involved with the deceased. Following Geddes' death, he stole her jewelry, phone and car and pawned off some items, The Kansas City Star reported.

The 24-year-old woman was found strangled to death by her family inside her apartment on June 1, 2017, court records showed. 

Her mother, Stacy Gicante, became worried because her daughter had not contacted her for some time and went with her brother to Geddes’ apartment. They said they climbed in through an unlocked window and found her body in the upstairs bedroom.

Investigators later found vomit and jewelry boxes that appeared to have been disturbed in Geddes' bedroom.

Russell became a suspect after investigators found DNA evidence and fingerprints linking him to the scene of the crime. He lived in the townhouse next to the apartment building where Geddes resided.

When he was interviewed by police, Russell alleged that he and "Ashley" had begun a sexual relationship recently. He admitted to taking her valuables and selling some of them, but the man claimed at the time that he did not kill the 24-year-old and did not know that she died, according to court records.

Russell also claimed to police that he choked Geddes during intercourse at her request and that he panicked when she stopped breathing after about a minute.

He claimed he took Geddes' phone, keys to her car and parked it at a friend’s house. After that, he tossed the keys and the phone down a sewer, court records said.

“She was a singer, songwriter, model, Sunday school teacher who had just been baptized. All of this while working a full-time job and taking care of her mother,” Geddes' mother said of her daughter during a press conference announcing the charges in 2017. “She did not deserve this.”

Russell was also previously sentenced to seven years in prison in 2012 for burglary and domestic assault in Jackson County.

gavel-3577255_1920 Representation. A gavel. Photo: Pixabay