Release new information on new suspects in a terrible tragedy.

Bryan Sheppard and Family


My name is Ashley. My dad, Bryan Sheppard, has spent 20 years in federal prison for a 1988 explosion that killed six Kansas City firefighters. He has maintained his innocence, and his parents and girlfriend at the time insist he was in bed during the incident. What’s more, there was no physical evidence connecting them to the crime. It is a tragedy what happened to the firefighters that night in 1988, and I continue to feel sadness for the families and friends of the victims. But my family has suffered a different kind of tragedy because the U.S. Department of Justice has refused to release the names of two new suspects in the case, information that could help explain what happened that night and bring true justice for all.

I am asking Tammy Dickinson, U.S. Attorney, Western District of Missouri, to release a non-redacted copy of the July 8, 2011, U.S. DOJ Criminal Division Investigation of the Kansas City Firefighters. The public, the victims and those currently serving time deserve to know the truth.  

The 1988 explosion that  killed six Kansas City firefighters went “unsolved” for eight years until five suspects were charged with arson, causing death. To generate leads for testimony, law enforcement posted $50,000 reward posters in all the prisons and jails in Missouri and Kansas. More than 50 felons came forward with wildly conflicting stories.  All told, the “witnesses” placed each defendant in as many as seven different places at the same time. Still, shockingly, each defendant was convicted on the word of these unreliable informants.

The bottom line is that there is more to the case. I know it, and the DOJ knows it. There are other suspects that have not been charged, and several witnesses who have recanted their testimony. My father will soon have a resentencing hearing. It is crucial that US Attorney Dickinson release the unredacted report before then. It could not only help convince the judge to reduce my father’s sentence but could actually convince him to release him altogether!

Please join me in asking that all information be released to the public before my father’s resentencing trial so that everyone has a chance at justice.

My father was 17 when he supposedly committed this crime. Recently, the Supreme Court has given all people who were minors when they were sentenced to life without release a chance at parole. Teens have the ability to change and are strong candidates for rehabilitation.  My father has been a model inmate and demonstrated the principles outlined by the Supreme Court's decision over the years of his imprisonment.  

My father will have a hearing this year to possibly reduce his sentence, and it is crucial that his attorney be given the DOJ report that includes the two suspects' identities so that she can fully represent Bryan and possibly prove his innocence.  

How can we be sure that justice has truly been served? My father’s attorney deserves to know all the evidence. It could prove that what my father has been saying all these years -- that he is innocent -- is true. The people currently convicted of this terrible crime and the victims deserve to know the real truth.

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