KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Hours after former Kansas City police detective Eric DeValkenaere was transferred from the Platte County Jail to the Missouri Department of Corrections in St. Joseph, a court denied his motion to reinstate an appeal bond, which means he’ll remain behind bars pending action from Jefferson City.
DeValkenaere is serving a six-year prison sentence for shooting and killing Cameron Lamb in 2019, a judge finding him guilty during a bench trial of involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action in 2021.
He and his partner were called to Lamb’s neighborhood for a traffic incident near East 41st Street and College Avenue on Dec. 13, 2019. A police helicopter saw a red pickup, believed to have been involved in the incident, turn into Lamb’s garage. The two officers followed Lamb onto his property, and DeValkenaere admitted to shooting Lamb, but said he was protecting his partner.
DeValkenaere appealed his conviction, but the Missouri Court of Appeals upheld the judge’s ruling earlier this month, saying there was enough evidence to prove that he killed Lamb and acted with criminal negligence.
Thursday’s ruling from Appeals Court Chief Judge Gary Witt cites Section 547, RSMo 2016:
“In all cases where the conviction of a defendant is affirmed on appeal… the defendant is to be imprisoned in any jail or by the department of corrections, the court affirming the appeal shall direct the sentence pronounced to be executed, and for this purpose the court shall order the marshal of the court to arrest the convict, and deliver him to the proper official. In its discretion the court may order the marshal to arrest the convict prior to the date the opinion of the court affirming the judgement in the cause is made public.”
The motion to reinstate his appeal bond was being considered as Missouri Governor Mike Parson’s office confirmed it received DeValkenaere’s clemency application earlier this week.
The application urged the governor to pardon DeValkenaere, and the governor’s office says it’s received calls and requests from private citizens urging the same.
Lamb’s family, their legal team, and the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office have all called for the governor not to pardon DeValkenaere.
“The rule of law has spoken clearly on this matter through a Jackson County Grand Jury, three separate Circuit Court judges, three separate appeals court judges and the presiding judge of the Western District Court of Appeals, who signed the arrest warrant last week,” Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney Jean Peters Baker said in a statement released earlier this week.
Lamb’s family attorney cited the judge’s decision that DeValkenaere violated Lamb’s 4th Amendment rights from unreasonable search and seizure.
“Every judge that has looked at this case has said this man was guilty, the conviction was upheld. He’s got another shot at the Supreme Court, let the Supreme Court decide but don’t jump in now and make that decision. Her husband is going to be home for her and her children after his prison term. Cameron Lamb is not coming back for his mom or his children, he’s dead,” attorney David Smith said.
Governor Parson hasn’t made a decision on pardoning DeValkenaere, a spokesperson saying this case will get a thorough review before he comes to a conclusion.
Hours after DeValkenaere’s appeal bond motion was denied, documents from his conviction were entered into the Black Archives of Mid-America.
Curators intend to make them available for future generations.
“Hopefully, now, this will open up the doors for the future, and we won’t have a lot of the problems that we face or the prosecutors face during this process,” Lamb’s mother, Laurie Bey, said.
This is Kansas City’s first case involving a white officer being sent to prison for the shooting of an African-American. Lamb’s family members, and Jackson County prosecutors, took part in that afternoon ceremony.
“That can’t be understated what that means to people. I think it was talked about here how much it means to people to know what an office like this, what the government will do to make sure people are accountable,” assistant prosecuting attorney Dion Sankar said.