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Attorney defends homeowner after 3 friends found dead outside his home

John Picerno says his client "would have helped them" if he'd known his friends were in trouble before they were found dead.
Attorney defends homeowner after 3 friends found dead outside his home
Posted at 9:20 AM, Jan 24, 2024

After three men were found dead earlier this month outside of a home in Kansas City, Missouri, many questions remain about what happened. John Picerno, an attorney for the homeowner, wants to set the record straight.

Picerno said the homeowner wasn’t aware his friends — Ricky Johnson, Clayton McGeeney and David Harrington — were missing until police knocked on his door on Tuesday, Jan. 9. Scripps News Kansas City is not identifying the homeowner because he has not been arrested or charged with a crime.

"There were five of them, and one guy left," Picerno said. "The other four hung out for a while until [the homeowner] got tired. He told them he was going to crash and get some sleep on the couch. He said goodbye to the other three. It was his belief at the time they left outside through the front door, and that was the last time he saw them," Picerno said.

The guys were all hanging out at the home after watching the Kansas City Chiefs play the Los Angeles Chargers on TV. Scripps News Kansas City confirmed this week that there was a fifth person at the house earlier in the evening. 

"There’s reports someone was pounding on the door, and one person gained access to his house," Picerno added. "He did not hear them. If he did, he would’ve gotten up. When you’re sleeping and hear someone in your house, you call 911 and wait, or you don’t call 911 and explore what’s going on."

 The attorney said his client works from home and had no idea they were missing or that they were deceased outside of his home.

"The important thing to remember — I’ve been trying to stress this when I talk to people — these were three friends," Picerno said. "Two were considered lifelong friends — people you went to high school with and still hang out with 20 something odd years later. This has hit him hard. If they were in distress, he would have helped them."

Scripps News Kansas City touched base with people who have a connection with all of the victims. Not all of them were ready to comment, but some think there's more to the story.

"I think it’s all lies to cover his tracks; how do you not know there are three bodies and cars outside of your house? It makes no sense. Deep down my gut is telling me something went down that night," said Adriana Juarez, who has a daughter with Johnson.

Jennifer Marquez, the mother of Harrington, also wonders how the circumstances are not considered suspicious.

"They all deserve to have this fully checked out," Marquez said. "Things are not adding up."

Neither family has received an update on the investigation yet.

"I don’t believe anyone is innocent in this," Marquez added. "My son was a grown man, and I love him dearly. This is tearing me apart, but I have to fight for him now."

Juarez said this is a bizarre case that's also impacting her and Johnson's daughter.

"Nothing makes sense. I want justice. It’s heartbreaking," she said. "My daughter keeps saying, 'I miss my dad; I miss my dad,' My daughter will never see her father again."

Kansas City police said a search warrant was never executed because the homeowner, who has since moved out of the home, consented to a search.

This remains a death investigation while the autopsy is being completed. The autopsy results could take another two weeks but police do not suspect any foul play.

This story was originally published by Alyssa Jackson at Scripps News Kansas City.

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