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Auto parts store employee charged with murder for allegedly fatally strangling suspected shoplifter

( Wyandotte County)

Prosecutors have charged a 39-year-old employee for allegedly strangling and killing a 23-year-old man who allegedly attempted to shoplift items from the store where he worked.

According to Kansas City Police, on Sept. 19, officers were called to the O’Reilly Auto Parts on Parallel Parkway regarding a disturbance. The caller notified dispatch that two men were shoplifting inside. Store employees and the shoplifting suspects got into a physical fight outside, which resulted in one man’s death.

When police arrived at the location, they reportedly found an unresponsive male outside and began CPR. However, he was declared deceased at the scene. Police also located a second individual with minor injuries. He was taken to a local hospital in stable condition.

On Sept. 21, Kansas City Police identified the deceased victim as Diamond Steen.

The same day, Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree announced police arrested Carl Kemppainen on a charge of second-degree murder. Dupree said Kemppainen is accused of unlawfully but intentionally killing Steen and did so “recklessly” while “demonstrating extreme indifference” to the victim’s life.

The autopsy determined Steen’s cause of death was strangulation and the manner of death was a homicide.

Dupree said, “The deceased’s airway was completely stopped, and that ultimately caused his death.”

According to Dupree, Kemppainen could face additional charges, as could other O’Reilly employees.

If convicted, Kemppainen could face 109 months to 493 months in prison, which equates to approximately nine to 41 years. He’s currently in custody at the Wyandotte County Jail with a $125,000 bond.

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