by Jo Ellen Nott
A convicted drug trafficker who broke out of a Kansas City-area jail was back in custody on December 30, 2022 – along with his mother, who was charged with abetting his escape.
Trevor Scott Sparks, 33, escaped from the Cass County Jail on December 5, 2022, not quite a month after his November 7 conviction for running a meth-trafficking operation in the Ozarks that has been tied to two murders. A federal jury convicted him of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, participating in a money-laundering conspiracy, possessing firearms in a drug-trafficking crime, and being a felon in possession of firearms.
Sparks had been held at the jail since his arrest in December 2018. From there, after his conviction, he allegedly called his mother, Dawn Branstietter, 54, telling her to gas up her car because “[y]ou are probably going to pick me up real soon. Real, real, real soon.”
As the November passed, Branstietter began not answering her phone. Sparks then contacted Steven Lydell Williams, Sr., 64, to arrange a getaway car. Williams picked up Sparks at a local store after he and another detainee, Sergio Perez-Martinez, 43, escaped from jail. Perez-Martinez remains at large. Williams was also charged with aiding an escape.
Two days later, on December 7, 2022, Sparks was charged with escape from confinement. Meanwhile Branstietter was communicating via Facebook messages with Nicholas Parris about plans to visit Sparks’ sister – whom Parris used to date – in Texas. Investigators say that contact through Facebook between Branstietter and Parris was minimal before Sparks’ escape but soon after grew “exponentially.” Although frequent, the messages were ambiguous or directed to voice and video.
Four days after Sparks’ escape, on December 9, 2022, cops interviewed Branstietter at her Blue Springs residence. She vowed she “would not give up her son and would go to prison so he could be free,” according to a press release after her arrest by the federal Department of Justice. Branstietter’s husband was also at the house and uncooperative with law enforcement.
On the morning of December 30, 2022, Sparks and his mother left the back yard of another Blue Springs residence that Branstietter had been frequenting. Mother and son drove to Nicholas Parris’ residence, where the three were met and arrested by Kansas City police officers. Sparks is now in custody of U.S. Marshals.
On top of his sentencing for the previous conviction of leading a criminal conspiracy, prosecutors promise Sparks will now face additional time for the escape. He will also owe up to $4.2 million in fines, based on the unlawful distribution of approximately 520 kilograms of methamphetamine at an average market price of $8,000 per kilogram.
Branstietter was on the other side of another high-profile case over a decade ago. Her sister, sex worker Tamara Sparks, 40, was one of the victims of accused serial killer Derek Richardson in October 2011. Two months after his February 2013 arrest for killing Sparks and another sex worker, Richardson, 27, killed himself at the Clay County Jail on April 11, 2013.
Additional sources: Kansas City Star, KSHB, KYTV, WDAF
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