November 10, 2022

Leon L. Dudley III, 24, was found guilty on Wednesday, Nov. 9, of one count of extortion.

Evidence introduced during the trial indicated that Dudley delivered an extortion note to a Kansas City, Mo., residence on Aug. 24, 2018. The victim reported to law enforcement that a contractor arrived at the residence that morning to complete some work and found an envelope containing a handwritten letter taped to the front of the house near the front door. The letter contained a threat to vandalize and burn down the residence if the victim did not pay $1 million by the next day. The note included a cell phone number for the victim to text when the money was ready, and warned against contacting law enforcement.

The next day, an unknown suspect broke several windows in the house. The homeowner hired a private security firm, but the suspect returned that evening and broke more windows and a sliding glass door.

Investigators traced the cell phone number on the extortion note to the residence where Dudley lives with his mother. Investigators also located Dudley’s Facebook account, which included a photograph of a handwritten note with similar handwriting to the extortion note, as well as photos of Dudley that matched the physical profile captured in surveillance video at the residence.

Investigators searched Dudley’s residence and found an Apple iPad in his bedroom. The iPad had been stolen during a burglary at the extortion victim’s residence while it was still under construction in June 2018. During a forensic examination of the iPad, investigators found it contained internet searches related to the victim, to burning down a house and purchasing explosive items, and two extortion notes similar to the handwritten note that was left at the victim’s residence.

Investigators also found fingerprints on the extortion note and on the envelope that matched to Dudley.

Following the presentation of evidence, the jury in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo., deliberated for two hours before returning a guilty verdict to U.S. Chief District Beth Phillips, ending a trial that began Monday, Nov. 7.

Under federal statutes, Dudley is subject to a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregg R. Coonrod and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie C. Bradshaw. It was investigated by the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department and the FBI.

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