WMU Basketball Star Facing Life in Prison for Murdering Another Player at a Weed House

wmu murder shooting

WMU basketball star facing life in prison for murdering another player at a weed house

KALAMAZOO, MI — A phone left at an apartment adjacent to Western Michigan University where a student was shot and killed was one piece of evidence that led to charges against a basketball player, according to court testimony.

On Thursday, Dec. 8, Kalamazoo police were called at 10:28 p.m. for a report of a shooting believed to be fatal in the 700 block of South Howard Street.

At the scene, Jacob Ryan, 19, was pronounced dead.

Ryan was shot and killed  in a unit at the SoHo Apartments.

He reportedly was in the apartment with others when two men came to the apartment, wearing bandanas over their faces and demanding computers, cell phones, video game systems and cash.

Detectives learned from witnesses at the apartment that Ryan was shot when he stood up from the couch.

KDPS Captain Victor Ledbetter said police believe the interaction at the apartment “was supposed to have been a drug deal for marijuana.”


The robbers demanded cash, marijuana and phones from the four other people at the apartment before one of the victims tackled one of the intruders, the detective testified, resulting in two phones being dropped. The robbers fled and the victims locked the door behind them, witnesses told police.

Detectives called 911 using the two phones and found one was associated with Joeviair Kennedy, 20, a guard at WMU.

Kennedy was found to match the description of one of the robbers provided by witnesses and was arrested and lodged at the Kalamazoo County Jail, the detective said.

Until the Thanksgiving holiday, Kennedy resided in an apartment building located next to the crime scene.

Kennedy is charged with open murder, armed robbery and two felony firearm charges.

District Court Judge Anne E. Blatchford read the charges against Kennedy during an arraignment Monday, asking if he understood the charges that carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Kennedy replied “Yes Ma’am” to questions and showed little emotion while wearing an orange jumpsuit during the video arraignment.

“I have an attorney to represent me,” Kennedy said when asked about his plans for representation.

The judge denied bond because of the nature of the charges.

At the time of the shooting, witness Levi LaBar said he was inside his second-story apartment when he heard a gunshot coming from inside the building.

He said he looked through the peephole in the door out onto the landing and saw two men run down from upstairs and pause for a moment.

On the landing outside of his door, LaBar said, “One of them said to the other: ‘Why didn’t you tell me, man?’ Like he didn’t know he was going to shoot the gun. Then they kept running down the stairs and out into the parking lot.”

Police swarmed the building soon after, he said.


On Thursday, a second suspect, Jordan Dangelo Waire, 20,  was arrested about 9 p.m. He faces charges of felony murder, armed robbery, felon in possession and three felony firearm counts, the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety reports.

Jordan was on probation for another home invasion robbery at the time.