The Kansas Supreme Court today denied a motion to dismiss Douglas County charges against a man accused of killing two elderly Topekans near Lecompton in 1989.
Justices denied a motion for habeus corpus filed in March by the attorney for the man, Tyrone L. Baker, 21, of Topeka.
The attorney, Ron Wurtz of Topeka, had argued that Baker already has been tried for the crimes he is charged with in Douglas County District Court. Baker was tried and convicted last June in Shawnee County District Court of murdering Ida Mae Dougherty, 72, also of Topeka, and in the kidnapping of Lester Haley, 87, his wife, Nancy Haley, 69, and Verne B. Horne of Topeka.
Wurtz says that authorities violated Baker's constitutional protection from double jeopardy by charging him in Douglas County with first-degree murder, kidnapping and other felonies stemming from the murders.
Baker allegedly kidnapped the Haleys and Mrs. Horne at Mrs. Dougherty's home, then drove them to Douglas County. He is accused of shooting and killing the Haleys in Douglas County. Mrs. Dougherty was killed in Shawnee County. Mrs. Horne escaped and notified authorities.
Baker was sentenced to life in prison and 51 years to life on the Shawnee County convictions.
In February, Douglas County District Judge Ralph M. King Jr. denied a defense motion to dismiss the case on the grounds that prosecutors violated Baker's protection from double jeopardy.
Today's Supreme Court ruling means that trial proceedings resume in the Douglas County case. Trial for Baker is scheduled for June 17.