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Overland Park man sentenced to life in prison for the 2019 murder of a high school student

An Overland Park man was sentenced Thursday in the Johnson County District Court to two consecutive life terms for the 2019 death of a 17-year-old Olathe high school student and for shooting a police officer.

Matthew Bibee, Jr., 22, received two life sentences for attempted capital murder and first-degree murder after being convicted by a jury in October. Jail time for his other six charges, including attempted first-degree murder and aggravated robbery, will run concurrently.

An $8 Xanax deal

Just after 5.00pm on 29 March 2019, police found Rowan Padgett suffering from gunshot wounds in the 12300 block of South Mullen Court in Olathe. Padgett, a student at Olathe East High School, died at the scene.

According to court documents, the last high schooler was killed in a botched drug deal.

While Padgett was at Jordan Denny’s house, someone referred to in court documents as “RK” said his friend, Bibee, was looking for Xanax bars.

Prosecutors say Denny told Bibee he could get him two tablets of Xanax for $8, and Bibee agreed to come to Denny’s house. While setting up the meeting, Padgett allegedly asked Denny if they could have sex. Denny told him no and asked him to leave.

After ousting Padgett, Denny told prosecutors he received a response from his Xanax source, that he was no longer available. Despite this, Bibee had already arrived.

Court documents indicate that Padgett returned and knocked on Denny’s door and told him that the people in Bibee’s vehicle wanted to speak to her. Denny allegedly told Padgett that he and the people in the vehicle had to leave because he had nothing to sell.

Denny later told investigators he saw Padgett get into the back of the vehicle before it got out and collapsed.

Witnesses in the car told police they heard Bibee, who was in the back seat with Padgett, ask about her backpack before hearing a single gunshot.

Padgett then got out of the car without his phone and backpack, and Bibee told the vehicle operator to “drive,” according to prosecutors.

Robbery, other defendants

Bibee was arrested on March 31 after he became a suspect in a separate robbery in which he allegedly shot a victim and missed. During a confrontation with police, the allegations say, he shot and missed a police officer. The officer returned fire and hit the suspect, who was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Bibee was later arrested.

Denny was sentenced to nine months probation in 2020 for attempted possession of Xanax with intent to distribute, conspiracy to possess Xanax with intent to distribute, interference and use of a telecommunications device in a drug offense .

She had originally been charged with felony murder, a charge that allows someone to be charged with murder if a death occurs while they are committing another inherently dangerous crime.

Rolland Kobelo, also initially charged with felony murder, admitted to helping set up the drug deal that led to Padgett’s death and telling Bibee to rob Padgett.

Kobelo was sentenced in 2020 to more than four years in a juvenile correctional facility with a possibility of 10 years in adult prison for aggravated robbery and distribution of Xanax. Kobelo’s 10-year sentence was suspended provided he successfully completed his stint in the juvenile system.

Bibee will be eligible for parole in 50 years.

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