KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A northwest Missouri man has been convicted of killing a Missouri Air National Guardsman during a road rage confrontation.
Nicholas Webb, 61, of Pleasant Hill, was convicted of second-degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of Cody Harter, 23, of St. Joseph, the Jackson County Prosecutor’s office announced Thursday.
Lee’s Summit police were called to an area in Interstate 470 in May 2018 after witnesses reported a man on the ground. Officers found Harter suffering from a stab wound, and he later died from his injuries.
A witness told police Harter had his hands up and was backing away from Webb after they both got out of their vehicles, according to court documents.
Police discovered Webb had been arrested the same day in Liberty with a knife in his pants. Webb was released from prison after serving a sentence for second-degree murder in Jackson County in 1981.
Harter served in the Missouri Air National Guard as a loadmaster and had completed a tour in Iraq and Qatar, his mother said at a press conference held in 2018 shortly after Harter’s death. Harter also helped assist with hurricane relief efforts in Houston and Puerto Rico.
“He had been to war and back, and to die because someone was angry,” Kerrie, Cody’s mother said at the time. “Don’t let him just be a number. ... Please come forward and say something, anything.”
Harter was one semester short of a degree in engineering technology from Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, his family said. He also ran a small lawn care business when he wasn’t riding his dirt bikes.
“He loved his lawn care business because he could mow when he wanted to and get to the dirt track on weekends,” his mother said at the press conference.
During the press conference, Kerrie was flanked by her husband, their daughter, a fellow airman who served with Cody, as well as Cody’s girlfriend.
Before the incident, Harter’s father, Mike, said Cody called them to let them know he was on his way home.
“He came down yesterday to pick up a mower,” Mike said. “He called his mom on the way home and said, ‘I love you. I’ll be home in just a bit.’”
Harter’s mother said that by the time police arrived on-scene, other motorists had pulled over and were already with Cody, trying to help him in his final moments.
“Even though you left him to die alone,” his mother said to the attacker who fled, “he didn’t.”