KANSAS CITY – Jeffrey Moreland, the former Grandview police officer serving life in prison without parole for the November 2008 murder of Cara Jo Roberts, who was killed in her Harrisonville home, pleaded guilty today in Jackson County Circuit Court to two counts related to the Oct. 29, 2010, murder of Nina Whitley, who was found deceased in her south Kansas City home.
Moreland was sentenced to 20 years for second-degree murder and 10 years for armed criminal action in the Whitley case.
DNA evidence connected Moreland to both murders.
Kansas City officers responded to the Whitley home the evening of Oct. 29, 2010, to investigate the report of a dead body.
The investigation revealed the victim’s residence to have no signs of forced entry. During an area canvass, detectives found a witness who stated he had observed an unknown male subject walking down the street from the victim’s home on the day of the homicide. The man was observed to be speaking on a cell phone while walking to a newer model black Jeep.
The witness met with a sketch artist, who completed a composite sketch.
Meanwhile, the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office recovered DNA off the victim’s body.
Later, detectives received information on a person who resembled the composite sketch. That person identified Moreland and further stated that they believed he owned a black Jeep.
On June 16, 2011, detectives attempted to obtain a DNA sample from Moreland. He refused.
But three weeks later, on July 5, 2011, detectives from the Harrisonville Police Department traveled to the Polk County Jail in Des Moines, Iowa, after being told that Moreland was being held in connection with an alleged offense in that city.
Harrisonville detectives obtained a search warrant, and a DNA sample was obtained from Moreland, which was found to be a positive match for an unknown male DNA trace found on the deceased victim’s family. He was charged with the Whitley homicide during the same time frame as his charge in the Roberts case.