Carl Kemppainen charged second-degree murder Diamond Steen
Kansas City Police/Steen Family

Carl Kemppainen Strangled Diamond Steen

An employee of an O’Reilly Auto Parts store in Kansas City is now facing second-degree murder charges in the death of 23-year-old Diamond Steen.

According to police, the deadly incident began on September 19 when two men in their 20s entered the store and allegedly stole $70 worth of car maintenance supplies.

The store’s manager, 39-year-old Carl Kemppainen, allegedly told them to stop.

When they didn’t comply with his demands, Kemppainen followed the men outside and confronted Diamond Steen.

According to court documents, Carl Kemppainen yanked Diamond’s keys from around his neck and threw them across the parking lot. 

When Diamond tried to retrieve his keys, Kemppainen put him in a chokehold and strangled him to death. 

Keyshawn Perkins tried to de-escalate the situation by taking a stolen paint can out of his pocket and dropping it on the ground. 

That’s when another O’Reilly Auto Parts employee, Royal Ford, grabbed Perkins and bound him with tape – with the help of a third employee.

Ford then stomped on Keyshawn Perkins’ neck and back causing his face and shin to hit the ground. 

When officers arrived at the scene, they found both Keyshawn Perkins and Diamond Steen taped, bound, and zip-tied.  

According to court documents, Diamond was unresponsive. 

Officers attempted CPR on Diamond, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Kemppaninen was immediately arrested for voluntary manslaughter.

Charges Upgraded To Second-Degree Murder

About a week later, Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree formerly charged Carl Kemppainen with second-degree murder in the death of Diamond Steen. 

The deceased’s airway was completely stopped and that ultimately caused his death,” he said, citing an autopsy.

Kemppainen reportedly posted a $125,000 bond, but he is still being held on an out-of-state detainer.

If convicted, he faces up to 40 years in prison. 

Royal Ford, another O’Reilly Auto Parts employee was charged with misdemeanor battery

Keyshawn Perkins, who was with Diamond Steen, was charged with misdemeanor theft and obstruction. 

Watch the news report below. 

Diamond Steen’s Family Is Devastated

As you can imagine, Diamond Steen’s family is devastated by his murder.

The 23-year-old was a young father of two beautiful little boys, Diamond Jr. and Di’mir. 

His aunt, Sawnya Helm, told KCTV that the employees at the store should have handled the situation differently. 

She also opened up about how losing Diamond has been a nightmare.

It’s disturbing. It’s sickening. It’s a nightmare to have to navigate through this. It’s not even a nightmare, you wake up from nightmares. There’s no waking up from this.

Let The Police Do Their Jobs

Kansas City Police Chief Karl Oakman voiced his frustration with how the unnecessary actions of the O’Reilly Auto Parts manager led to a death that could have been totally prevented if he had just let the police do their job. 

On simple matters like shoplifting, tell the individual to stop. They don’t stop, call the police.

Don’t get in the middle of it because when you get in the middle of situations, we take minor shoplifting and turn it into an individual who is now dead.

O’Reilly Auto Parts released the following statement:

O’Reilly Auto Parts is deeply disturbed by the events, death, and injuries that occurred at our store in Kansas City, Kansas. We are cooperating fully with the police investigation.

My sincerest condolences and prayers go out to the family of Diamond Steen.

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Sources: USA Today,