Man charged with killing lawyer after $6M lawsuit judgment

An 80-year-old Missouri man who lost a nearly $6 million lawsuit to a Kansas City attorney has been charged in the lawyer's shooting death, prosecutors said Wednesday.

The Kansas City Star reports David Jungerman is charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of Tom Pickert. The personal injury attorney was found dead on the front porch of his home on Oct. 25, a day after Jungerman was served with property liens to pay the judgment.

It was not immediately clear if Jungerman has an attorney in the case.

A probable cause affidavit alleges that Jungerman accidentally recorded himself saying he killed Pickert. Investigators allege he failed to turn off a recorder he was using during a court hearing in Vernon County.

Pickert had represented a homeless man who was shot by Jungerman 2012, after Jungerman encountered men in a building associated with his baby-furniture business. Jungerman said the men were stealing copper and that he acted in self-defense.

He wasn't charged in those shootings, but he was later sued. A jury in August sided with the homeless man, who was injured in the shooting, awarding $5.75 million. Jungerman had said he planned to appeal.

Pickert was shot two months later, after returning home from walking his children to school. Investigators allege Jungerman, who also is a farmer, shot Pickert with a .17-caliber firearm typically used by farmers and ranchers to kill pests, according to court documents.

"We are grieving," said Pickert's widow, Emily Riegel. "We are desperately trying to find our way forward."

Jungerman, who lives in Raytown, was in custody at the Jackson County jail when the charges were announced. He is being held without bond in a March 8 shooting incident in which he is accused of a shooting at a man he suspected of stealing 780 pounds of iron pipe from his building.


Information from: The Kansas City Star,