Friends and family members of three Kansas City Chiefs fans found dead in the snow two days after a game day gathering doubt police assertions that no foul play is suspected, with one family retaining an attorney to compel a more thorough investigation.
The bodies of Ricky Johnson, 38, Clayton McGeeney, 36, and David Harrington, 37, were discovered by the Kansas City Police Department on Jan. 9 after one man’s fiancée told them she hadn’t heard from her partner in two days.
The Kansas City Police Department told Fox News Digital that they are awaiting the results of the men’s post-autopsy toxicology reports.
The last contact the men made with their loved ones was on Jan. 7, when they joined a group at the Northwest 83rd Terrace home of their friend Jordan Willis to watch the Kansas City Chiefs play against the Los Angeles Chargers.
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According to the victim’s families, Willis met officers at the door in his boxers with an empty wine glass in hand – his attorney, John Picerno, told Fox News Digital it contained water and had been refilled after holding wine the night before.
Picerno said that his client allowed police to search his home without a warrant or an attorney present. Ross Nigro, an attorney representing Johnson’s family, said that police carried out a second, more thorough investigation two days later.
“The number one thing that people need to remember from our point of view is that these were his three buddies – if they were in danger, he would’ve helped them. If he knew they were out there, he would’ve called the police himself. Anything beyond that is pure speculation.”
In the 48 hours prior, the families claimed, Willis had ignored repeated emails, Facebook messages, texts, phone calls and knocks at his door. Willis’ attorney claimed he went to sleep on the night of Jan. 7 with Johnson, McGeeney, Harrington and a fourth man still awake inside.
Willis has since moved out of his rental home, according to Picerno, “in fear of retaliation” after a flurry of media attention following his friends’ deaths. He has also taken a leave of absence from his job as a data scientist at IAVI, a nonprofit that develops vaccines for infectious diseases, Picerno said.
“There’s no allegation of any animosity between Jordan and his three friends,” Picerno told Fox News Digital on Tuesday. “People want to speculate – [but] it’s not like anyone ever called the police saying ‘we’re afraid of this Jordan guy.'”
Picerno said that two of the three men had been friends with Willis since high school, while the third was a close friend for about four years.
“They went to watch the Chiefs game together. Jordan had bought four tickets to the Chiefs game for the following Sunday so [that] they could go together,” Picerno said. “I understand that people are hurting, but that’s no excuse to throw baseless accusations at Jordan.”
“The number one thing that people need to remember from our point of view is that these were his three buddies – if they were in danger, he would’ve helped them,” Picerno said. “If he knew they were out there, he would’ve called the police himself. Anything beyond that is pure speculation.”
But Norma Chester, Johnson’s mother, suspects that Willis played an active role in her son’s death.
“Seriously – these were responsible men. How do they go in a backyard and freeze to death, all three of them,” she told Fox News Digital. “Something that comes to my mind, this guy wants to brag about how smart he is, he’s a scientist. My thoughts are that he concocted something and gave it to all three men. I know I’m just thinking, but how could this have happened?”
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Johnson, a father of three, never showed up for work at his father’s construction company that Monday – at that point, Rickie Johnson Sr. told Fox News Digital, his family worked to find the address where his son watched the game.
Meanwhile, Johnson’s family and friends on social media claim one of the men’s fiancées had broken into Willis’ house after repeated attempts to reach him and answered knocks at his door. There, she found one of the men’s bodies and called police to the scene.
Johnson’s father said that a police presence had already amassed when he and family members pulled up to Willis’ house on Jan. 9.
“They told us to wait, for four hours, and they would tell us what they found,” Johnson Sr. said on Tuesday. “We waited all night and they never called. We called them the next day and they still wouldn’t give us any information. So I called an attorney.”
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“He may have done some drugs and stuff in the past, but I do not believe all three of them did drugs and fell over dead in that backyard,” Johnson Sr. said of his son. “I’m not going to say that during a game he didn’t have some drinks. But he wasn’t irresponsible that he was going to go outside and freeze to death.”
“You’re talking about three grown men. If he was out there just freezing like they said, he could’ve kicked out a window to get into the house,” the father continued.
Johnson Sr. also said that his son’s coat was inside the house, and “he never would have gone outside without a coat.”
“I believe he drugged them, dragged them outside and waited two days to call police,” Johnson Sr. said.
“That’s ridiculous,” Picerno said about accusations that Willis drugged the men. “He’s a scientist and somehow he’s to blame? That’s an opinion not based in fact.”
The bereaved father said that he was one of several concerned friends and relatives who called Willis on the men’s behalf before he arrived at the house. But Willis’ attorney denied that claim in an interview with Fox News Digital.
“The thing that strikes me that’s strange about that is that none of those people called him on his cellphone,” Picerno said. “One of them, I believe it was the fiancée, did send him a message on Facebook Messenger. But he didn’t receive it until after police had.”
Picerno said his client did not hear knocks at his door before police arrived because he was sleeping with noise-canceling headphones and a loud fan. Willis also didn’t hear when the concerned woman broke into his house, Picerno said.
“The thing that strikes me that’s strange about that is that none of those people called him on his cellphone.”
Friends of the three men and Johnson Sr.’s attorney, Ross Nigro, wonder how Willis could have avoided going outside for two days. Picerno attributes the fact that he worked from home.
Nigro said, three other guests were at Willis’ house on the night of the Chiefs game. They claim that their host’s two dogs were present.
“If you have a dog and there’s three deceased people at the house, they would alert you to the bodies,” Nigro said.
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Nigro also claimed that Picerno’s retelling of events to the press has “changed” over the course of several interviews – according to Fox 4 Kansas City, Willis’ attorney said there was a fifth individual in the house when the homeowner went to sleep that night.
“Initially he was by himself, now there was a fifth magical person who was at the house,” Nigro said. “The fact that the story has changed significantly makes it seem unbelievable and not trustworthy whatsoever, in addition to Mr. Willis leaving the residence and hiring a criminal defense attorney – those are all signs of someone hiding something.”
Willis has not been charged with any crime or accused of any wrongdoing.
“First and foremost, this case is 100% NOT being investigated as a homicide,” Captain Jake Becchina of the Kansas City Police Department previously told Fox News Digital.
“There have not been any arrests [or] charges, and no one is in custody. There are no specific threats or concerns for the surrounding community at this time. The resident at the house was cooperative with detectives the day the deceased were discovered.”