A Kansas man accused in the murder of a woman who he thought would expose him for being HIV positive is a white supremacist with a history of attacks on black people, his daughter told the Kansas City Star.
Ronald Lee Kidwell, 47, of Shawnee, Kansas, claims that he killed MeShon Cooper, 43, in self defense, but her loved ones don’t believe him, telling the Star that she was known for her geniality. Cooper, of Kansas City, Kansas, was reported missing in early July and she was found dead on July 14 when Kidwell led investigators to a trashcan in his garage, where he said he had hidden her body, the Star reports. He was charged with second-degree murder on July 16. But those who know Kidwell say it should be. His neighbor, Kathleen Brown, told the newspaper the killing is “100 percent a hate crime.”
Kidwell goes by the nickname “One Eye” and a relative told the Star that Kidwell lost his eye when he was 7 in a dog attack. His cousin, told the newspaper that most of Kidwell’s family had disowned him because of his racist views. “Whenever I was around him, he’d talk about white power,” Turner told the newspaper, adding “it didn’t surprise me that (the victim) was black.”
Here’s what you need to know about Ronald Lee Kidwell:
1. Kidwell, Who Told Detectives ‘When I Get Mad, I Make the Exorcist Look Like a Bitch,’ Confessed to Stabbing Cooper to Death During an Argument, Police Say
MeShon Cooper was reported missing on July 6 when she didn’t show up for a family party about 13 hours after she had last been seen, her family told WDAF-TV. Her car was then found abandoned and still running near a park near 7th and Myrtle in Kansas City, the news station reports. Police were able to track her phone to Ronald Kidwell’s home in Shawnee, according to court documents obtained by the newspaper.
Investigators said in the affidavit that the house smelled overwhelmingly like bleach when searched by detectives with a search warrant. Kidwell then was interviewed by police and at first denied any knowledge of what happened to Cooper, according to the court documents. But he later admitted that Cooper’s body was in his home. According to the court documents obtained by the news station, Kidwell then told police that a group of people from Kansas City had killer her. But he changed his story again and said he would never be released from prison for what he was about to admit.
Kidwell told police that he had a fight with Cooper and she grabbed a knife from her purse and hit his hand with it, according to WDAF. Kidwell said he “flipped out” and began punching Cooper in the face before taking the knife and stabbing her in the neck, police said. He then continued to punch her, he told police. He told detectives when he gets mad he makes, “the exorcist look like a bitch.”
According to WDAF, Kidwell told police that Cooper threatened to “tell everyone” that he was HIV positive, which led to their argument.
Kidwell told police he had wrapped her body in trash bags and put it in a trash can in his garage, detectives said. Investigators said they found her body where he told them it was.
“Meshon was a very loving, caring, sweet individual that would give anything to anybody. She touched a lot of souls,” Cooper’s niece, Darnisha Harris, told WDAF. “We’ve never seen that man, and we don’t have any idea if she knew him. I just wonder why would a person do this to such a beautiful soul? It’s a really bad heartache. It hurts unbelievably.”
2. His Daughter Says Kidwell Is a ‘Monster’ White Supremacist With a Swastika Tattoo Who Bragged About Being in the KKK & Is the ‘True Definition of Evil’
Ronald Lee Kidwell’s estranged daughter, Carolyn Foster, told the Kansas City Star that her he would drape himself in the Confederate flag, send her photos of his swastika tattoo and brag about being in the Ku Klux Klan. He also told his neighbor, Kathleen Brown, that he was in the Aryan Nations white supremacist group, she told the newspaper.
Kidwell once threatened to kill Foster and her three children if she “ever spoke to a person of color,” she told the newspaper. She said, “He’s been a monster his whole life. He’s the true definition of evil.”
She told KMBC-TV, “He made it clear that he believed in white supremacy. That he’s a white supremacist. That he was part of the Ku Klux Klan. “He’s not going to stop being evil,” said Kinder. “He’s not going to stop being a monster.”
In an interview with WDAF-TV, she said, “How would I describe him? Evil. Monster. He doesn’t deserve to walk anywhere in this world. My father got away with selling me for child pornography several times. He also got away with selling me for methamphetamine and crack-cocaine. Unfortunately, no one would testify against him to put him in prison for it”
She told the newspaper she was placed in foster care as an infant, but Kidwell would find her. She said that he would commonly say “on my skin,” while tapping his arm as a way to add “credence” to his statements, according to the Star.
Kidwell has been in and out of jail since 1995, serving more than 15 years behind bars in total, according to KSHB-TV. He was first arrested in 1995 and charged with criminal damage to property in Johnson County, Kansas. He pleaded guilty to criminal trespass a year later and served 30 days in jail, according to the news station. Later in 1996, Kidwell was arrested again and pleaded guilty to felony stealing in Jackson County, Missouri, court records show. He was given two years of probation, which was revoked in March 1998 for violating the conditions of the supervised release.
He was also arrested in August 1997 for felony stealing and received two years in prison, according to KSHB. In 1999, he was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to possession of a controlled substance in Clay County, Kansas. In 2002, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree assault in Missouri, court records show. According to KSHB, it’s unclear when he was released.
His last conviction was for second-degree assault stemming from a sexual assault and beating in 2011. He was sentenced to five years in prison in February 2012, KSHB reports, but it is again unclear when he was released from prison.
3. Kidwell, Who ‘Pretends to Be Colored People’s Friends & Then Harms Them,’ Served 5 Years in Prison for Attacking & Sexually Assaulting a Black Woman
Kidwell’s daughter told the Kansas City Star, “He pretends to be ‘colored people’s’ friends and then he harms them.” She said “colored people” is her father’s terminology. She told WDAF-TV, “He once told me stories: ‘I’ll become friends with someone of color, and I’ll make them think that I’m their friend, but I’m gonna end them,’ and because I never had a direct threat to anyone, there was nothing I could do.”
Kathleen Brown, Kidwell’s neighbor, also told the Star that Kidwell would befriend black people, including Cooper. Brown said Cooper had visited Kidwell at his home about 10 days before she disappeared. When she left, Kidwell called her a “black bitch” and used a racial slur, Brown told the newspaper.
Cooper was at Kidwell’s house again on July 6, Brown told the newspaper. He left to get beer and Cooper and Brown began to talk. On July 7, Cooper’s car was found and her body was found days later. “If I would have known he was going to harm her in any way, I would have never let her leave my house,” Brown told the newspaper.
Kidwell’s 2011 conviction in Clay County was for attacking a black woman, according to the Star. Kidwell hit a sleeping black woman in the head with a hammer, demanded she take her pants off and then sexually assaulted her, the newspaper reports. “Kidwell stated that he has been diagnosed with HIV and did not use a condom during the sexual activity,” police wrote in court documents obtained by the newspaper. Kidwell pleaded guilty and received five years in prison.
His daughter told the newspaper that Kidwell would brag about the assaults and derived pleasure from them.
4. He Is Being Held on $1 Million Bail & the FBI Is Now Investigating the Case as a Possible Federal Hate Crime
Ronald Kidwell was charged with second-degree murder. He is being held at the Johnson County Jail on $1 million bail, online records show.
The FBI is now investigating the case as a possible hate crime, a spokesperson said Tuesday, according to The Associated Press. Kansas does not have a hate crime statute. The FBI said it will be assisting local investigators in determining whether the case qualifies as a hate crime.
It is not clear if Kidwell has an attorney. He told police the killing was not premeditated. The Johnson County prosecutor’s office has not commented about the case.
Kidwell’s daughter told WDAF-TV, “My heart really does go out to her and her family. He was mad because I did not share his beliefs and I would not become a racist with him. He told me he would completely disown me and kill me and my daughter if he ever found out that I spoke to an African American. Again, my heart really goes out to Meshon Cooper and her family. She didn’t deserve this. I’m praying every day that he suffers in prison for what he did.”
5. Cooper Has Been Remembered as ‘Full of Life, Laughter & So Much Joy’ & a GoFundMe Has Been Set Up for Her Son
MeShon Cooper is survived by her 25-year-old son, Reese. “Full of life, laughter and joy, MeShon will live on in our hearts, memories and prayers,” friends wrote on a Facebook page in her memory. “MeShon touched so many lives with her big heart and open arms.”
One friend, Tamara Sigars, wrote on the page, “I remember when I was fighting cancer she asked me what was O scared of so I told her and she gave (me) courage to do chemotherapy.”
Cooper was born in Oceanside, California, according to her Facebook page. She graduated from Grandview Senior High School in Missouri. She later studied at Johnson County Community College and Wichita State University, according to her Facebook page, which is filled with photos with her family and of her wearing hats and shirts supporting her favorite teams, the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals.
Her nephew, DaRon Cooper, told the Kansas City Star his aunt had battled disease and had recently had an operation. She worked part-time at a Subway restaurant to help support her family, despite qualifying for disability. “She fought off a lot of different things, a lot of different diseases, so for someone to come in and take a life like this, it’s shocking and it hurts,” DaRon Cooper said.
“On Saturday July 14th we leanred of the horrific news that her life was cut short & taken away from us violently, in a way that would change our lives FOREVER!! This was (definitely) an untimely death that has occurred and we are in need of funds to help her only son Resse with personal (expenses) that has occurred that are becoming a burden for him such as Rent, He needs a vehicle because him & his mother shared cars, First & Last months rent due moving out of his house, last but not least therapy to help get thru this tragic situation,” DaRon Cooper wrote on the page.