Innocent Native American Serving Life Sentence With No Possibility of Parole.



CLICK HERE to Sign Petition.

CLICK HERE to Join Richard Wayne Brown Support Group.

If you would like to correspond with Richard, his contact information is: Richard Wayne Brown, Federal Bureau of Prisons ID 08718-045, Coleman 1 USP, P O Box 1033, Coleman, FL. 33521.



This Alert is in reference to the November 1988 explosion at the Brown Brothers Construction Site located at 87th Street and Blue River Road in Kansas City, Mssouri. I want to know why the firefighters used water on a fire that had explosives on site. I believe that the lack of professional handling of the fire at the Construction Site was a major factor in the deaths of those six firefighters.


I, Edward Brown (Father of Richard Brown) would like to know why there was never any questioning of the firefighter’s responsibility to follow standard protocol in approaching a fire that had an unknown cause. In the transcripts, it is reported that the fire chief repeated three times “Do not put water on that fire!” Was this sheer negligence on the part of the firefighters when they didn’t listen to their Chief’s commands nor follow standard training in the Hazmat rules on how to handle a fire that had explosives on site? Is it possible they had not been trained properly? It seems that had they not applied water and if they had followed protocol, the explosion would NOT have happened! Does a Part of the responsibility in this mishap belong to ones in charge of training?

Granted, it has been determined by the court that it was a planned fire and the courts have finally determined and declared that it was not planned by the five people charged and doing the prison time now for allegedly committing a crime. The fact is they have consistently insisted they did not set the fire. Attention should be shifted now to find the ones who planned and set this fire. A young friend named, Bryan, who was a minor at the time, is still serving a six-count life sentence for involuntary man slaughter along with four other people. There is a law that says a 17 year old minor cannot be sentenced to life without parole and yet Bryan is still in prison. What will it take to release those innocent victims for a crime they did not commit?!? When does the responsibility finally rest in the hands of the ones who planned the fire and the firefighters who responded unprofessionally to an unknown fire that ultimately led to the explosion?!

I am disgusted with the corruptness of this case and our court System! Bryan was a minor being tried as an adult for a crime he did not do.

My son, Richard Brown,  was spending the night at his grandfather’s house and he was in bed at the time of this tragic fire. He got out of bed, and his family and the neighbors all testified that they had seen him standing on his grandfather’s porch in his boxers right after the first explosion. I know for sure that it is virtually impossible to be at two places at the same time!

For 17 years now my son has been basically lost to me. He has also lost everything. He loved to clown around, tease people, and make others laugh. The first thing he lost was his freedom which he valued because he wanted to live a good upstanding life. He wanted to have a family, a wife, and children. He left three babies, one was a year, one was a new born, and his daughter was seven years old. Their mother had to raise them without their dad’s help. He wanted to offer his talents to better his family and to help people; he was good hearted and looked for people to help. My heart is sickened in regard to these facts of what he has lost and also for the loss of all this time. I also hurt for all the families of the other people that were wrongly accused and convicted of this horrible crime. I am sorry about the firefighters and their families; they are all victims of this atrocity as well. The people who were wrongly convicted and are serving time in prison are also truly victims, too.

With this letter I entreat the courts, lawyers and interested parties who actually seek justice in this world, and most specifically the ones that have worked on this case, to hold accountable and find the guilty ones who set this fire, who originated and committed this crime. I also encourage, anyone to question the level of responsibility the firefighters had in performing their job. Do not misunderstand my plea; I know it is incredibly unfortunate what happened to everyone concerned.

Yet, everyone makes mistakes and sometimes it even costs them their lives. We know it also causes incredible pain for their family and loved ones. What will correct this horrible wrong is to find the people that were the real criminals, the true perpetrators of this horrible tragedy.

I invite anyone reading this letter right now to interview me as to my extensive research and knowledge of this case. I hope to be able to tell each one of you what I plan to do next! You may email me at the following email address: .



The Firefighter Case: Part I


The Firefighter Case: Part II





The U.S. Department of Justice should impanel a grand jury to re-investigate the “wrongful convictions” of five people in the 1988 arson and explosion deaths of six Kansas City firefighters, attorneys for the defendants said Thursday.

A U.S. Department of Justice investigation prompted by stories in The Kansas City Star said last year that others in addition to the defendants were involved in the arson and explosion that killed firefighters Thomas Fry, Gerald Halloran, Luther Hurd, James Kilventon Jr., Robert D. McKarnin and Michael Oldham.

The federal investigation, only portions of which were released to the public, said “several newly developed pieces of information, not previously known to the prosecution,” suggest that other people, who were never prosecuted, “may have been involved in the arsons.”

Justice Department officials said at the time, however, that the new evidence did not exonerate the five people convicted in the arson. Any new suspects, investigators said, would have committed the crime along with those found guilty at a 1997 trial.

Investigators did not explain why the defendants, who have served more than 17 years and always have maintained their innocence — would have failed to tell authorities that they had accomplices.

But attorneys for the defendants said they now believe the new evidence they will reveal Friday “points completely away from those defendants and toward others who were not adequately investigated.”

Those convicted in the case were Frank Sheppard; his brother Skip Sheppard (who died in prison in 2009); their nephew Bryan Sheppard; his best friend, Richard Brown; and Frank Sheppard’s girlfriend, Darlene Edwards.

Pilate and the Midwest Innocence Project, who are working together on the case, said they will be asking members of the public who have additional information about the case to contact them.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri said late Thursday that Pilate made several presentations regarding new evidence in the case to the office last year. But it added that “none of the information Ms. Pilate has presented … to date indicates that the defendants in the firefighters case were wrongly convicted.”

“In this case, as in every case, the United States Attorney’s Office remains willing to receive and review any information from Ms. Pilate or others regarding the 1988 firefighters case and encourages anyone with relevant information to step forward and contact federal law enforcement.”

To reach Mike McGraw, call 816-234-4423 or send email to

Attorneys representing two of the four living defendants serving life sentences in the 1988 deaths of six Kansas City firefighters said Friday that they have developed “compelling new information that casts substantial doubt” on the guilt of all four.

Cheryl Pilate of Morgan Pilate LLC and Laura O’Sullivan, legal director of the Midwest Innocence Project, said at a news conference that their new findings — along with information unearthed last year by federal authorities — should be enough to convince the government to impanel a new grand jury to investigate the 24-year-old case.

Pilate said that there were significant gaps and leads that weren’t pursued in the original investigation and that the new information “casts very grave doubts on the government’s case.”

“This case is not going away,” she said.

The U.S. attorney’s office has said that several meetings with Pilate have yet to convince them to reopen the case.

But Pilate said Friday that she will be presenting the new information at additional meetings and that the U.S. attorney is maintaining an “open door” to hearing any new evidence.

Pilate said several newly developed pieces of information “not previously known to the prosecution” suggest that others were responsible for the November 1988 arson and explosion that killed firefighters Thomas Fry, Gerald Halloran, Luther Hurd, James Kilventon Jr., Robert D. McKarnin and Michael Oldham.

She said her investigation has concentrated on witnesses who drove by a highway construction site the night of the explosion and whose statements suggest that other people were responsible for the crime.

However, she declined to discuss specifics, noting that could influence potential witnesses and hinder the ongoing investigation by her office and the Midwest Innocence Project.

Nearly nine years after the deadly explosion, five people were convicted of the crimes: Frank Sheppard and his brother Skip Sheppard, who died in prison; their nephew Bryan Sheppard; Richard Brown; and Frank Sheppard’s girlfriend, Darlene Edwards.

O’Sullivan represents Bryan Sheppard, the youngest of the defendants, and Pilate represents Edwards.

At the news conference, Pilate read portions of a statement from Marion Germann, a retired battalion chief who is the only firefighter who survived the explosions, in which he said he supports reopening the case because he knows some prosecution witnesses did not tell the truth.

“I’ve just always been uncomfortable with whether the right people went to trial,” Germann told The Star in a 2008 interview.

In addition, for the first time, a relative of one of the fallen firefighters agreed that a new investigation may be needed.

Leo Halloran, brother of Gerald Halloran, told The Star that a new grand jury needs to consider new evidence in the case.

“That’s the only way to clear all this up,” Leo Halloran said.

The Star began investigating long-held doubts about the convictions in 2007. Ed Massey, who was cutting wood at the construction site around the time of the explosion, told the newspaper and later federal investigators that he saw someone set the fires that caused the explosions, but that it was not the five who were convicted.

That and other newspaper stories prompted an independent investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice that was completed in July 2011.

The department found information, not previously known to the prosecution, that suggested that other people “may have been involved in the arsons.”

But Justice Department officials said the new evidence did not exonerate the five defendants who were convicted.

At Friday’s news conference, the lawyers asked that anyone with information about the case email it to


Posted on October 4, 2013, in Civil Rights, Human Rights. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Barbara wunder

    I’ve known and loved Richard since he was a child. I am now and always will be Behind him 100 percent! I miss the twinkle in his eye and the way he love to joke. I love you Richard my prayers have always been with you and will always remain with you, you are not forgotten!

  2. There were always so many questions in regards to this, I grew up with these guys, though a few years younger, I knew them all back then, we ran in the same circles, and I just never saw something INTENTIONAL like this from any of them. I think they grabbed the first scapegoat they could, and that was it, rather than finding the real culprits. It is unfortunate, sad and always a tragedy when we lose a member of our FD or PD, I often visit the memorial, and leave a token. The whole situation is sickening.

  3. God has a plan for everybody, a lesson to be learned. Why do we have to learn the lessons of one whom is a coward to face the truth to accept responsibility of their own actions. Justice will prevail, and my cousin, Richard Brown, Bryan Shepherd, and the remaining defendants WILL WALK FREE DUE TO THEIR INNOCENCE.
    I love ❤ you Richard and miss you so very much. You weigh heavy on my heart and mind. Their is not a day that I will not stand behind you. Together Forever, distance in miles, but always at heart.
    Stacy M. Fine

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