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Zahnd won’t
pursue judgeship

by Ivan Foley
Landmark editor

There is no role as judge in the immediate future for Eric Zahnd, Platte County prosecutor.

That's the word this week from Zahnd.

In response to speculation from the media and others regarding whether he will seek a judgeship on the Missouri Supreme Court or Western District Court of Appeals, Zahnd released the following statement:

“I am not interested in becoming a judge at this time,” Zahnd said. “I have important and challenging work to complete in Platte County. I am committed to continuing the successes of the Platte County Cyber Crimes Unit. In addition, I am personally prosecuting two first degree murder cases set for trial this fall, and the State of Missouri as well as the victims in those cases deserve my undivided attention.”

One of the murder cases referred to by Zahnd is scheduled to go to trial on Sept. 24. That case is against Webber Douglas Gilmer, 54, who is accused of shooting to death Brian Harrell, 28, outside an apartment where Harrell's wife was a tenant and Gilmer was the landlord. That shooting took place in March of this year. At the time of the incident, Gilmer was a teacher in the Kansas City School District

The other murder case dates back to September of 2005. Jacob McGinnis, of Kansas City in Platte County, now age 26, is accused of shooting his friend, Steven J. Sandoval, 32, in the back with a shotgun along an outer road near Interstate 29 just south of Platte City and then raping the man's wife at the couple's Platte City home.

The case against McGinnis is scheduled to go to trial on Oct. 22.

A column last Wednesday by Mark Sheehan in the St. Joseph News-Press speculated that Zahnd might seek an appellate judgeship, suggesting that as a “veteran prosecutor” with “conservative credentials,” he would be “good competitor.”

“I am grateful people would consider me a qualified candidate for a judgeship, but I remain devoted to carrying out my duties as prosecutor for the people of Platte County,” Zahnd said.


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