In mid-December 2019, a young woman's life was cut short by a bullet meant for another person. The suspected shooter is currently, and has been, incarcerated at the Montgomery County Department of Corrections being held on charges of murder in the first degree, intentional and premeditated. 

The evening of Dec. 14, 2019, Kimberly Dawn Meeks, 19, of Coffeyville, was walking with a man along W. Main St. in Independence when Benjamin J. Mason, 18, of Coffeyville, allegedly fired shots from a passing car striking Meeks, killing her. Mason was arrested at his home the afternoon of Dec. 15, 2019 and has been incarcerated in MGDOC since.

As the investigation has continued, information was received regarding a driver of the vehicle who is said to of been Mason's sister, Megan D. McCutcheon, of Independence. McCutcheon has not been charged in the homicide and was being held in MGDOC on felony drug charges which were identified during the Meek's investigation. McCutcheon and Christopher Brown were arrested Dec. 18 and charged with several felony charges including, possession of paraphernalia with intent to manufacture, plant or cultivate a controlled substance, use of a communication facility during a drug transaction, distribution of a hallucinogenic or marijuana. 

McCutcheon appeared for a preliminary hearing in Montgomery County District Court where enough evidence was produced that Judge Jeffrey Gettler ordered her held over for a jury trial. Her initial bond was set at $100,000 but during the hearing Brian Rickman, court-appointed attorney for McCutcheon, asked for the bond to be lowered to $10,000. The request was granted and no ankle monitor was ordered as encouraged by her attorney. She paid the $1,000 (10%) and was released Feb. 11, same day as her hearing. 

Meek's family was notified of McCutcheon's release from custody by the Montgomery County Attorney's office through a phone call which advised her and her family to be on alert due to the release of McCutcheon, said Meeks mother, Amanda Shamblin, of Coffeyville. The release of McCutcheon was a shock to the family, said Shamblin, and they decided a peaceful protest was the best way to inform others of their plight. 

"They lowered [McCutcheon's] bond from $100,000 to $10,000 while being under investigation," Shamblin said solemnly. "This allowed her to post and get out so now my kids are scared to even come out at night right now."

The family spoke with County Attorney Larry Markle Tuesday morning who told them Gettler want against the District Attorney's request and lowered the bond. "Markle is just upset as the family and friends," Shamblin said. 

IDR spoke with one protester, Jessica Barlow, of Cherryvale, who, when asked what prompted her to join the protest said simply, "Justice for Kimmy." Barlow feels McCutcheon should be arrested for accessory to murder, "Because that is exactly what she is." Barlow encouraged citizens to remember this incident when it comes time to vote for district judges. 

Kimberly Meek's grandmother, Diane Meeks, said she asked the detective with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation to explain how McCutcheon was released from custody, telling him, "This is wrong." 

"I know they don't have a case built yet and I know we want a case built, but they could have kept her," Diane said. "On what they have her for, they could hold her."

An arraignment hearing for McCutcheon will be March 5 in the District Court of Montgomery County. IDR reached out to Markle who said the investigation is ongoing and he cannot comment.