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Archive for Wednesday, April 20, 1994

TEEN GETS PROBATION IN CARJACKING

April 20, 1994

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A teen-ager was granted probation Tuesday for his role in the carjacking death of a 29-year-old Lawrence man last September at the entrance of Riverfront Park.

A woman whose boyfriend was shot and killed in a carjacking said she was upset that a teen-ager implicated in the slaying was granted probation.

"I feel like they're grownups, and they should pay for what they've done," said Dana Chang, Lawrence, referring to the three teens involved in the September 1993 carjacking death of Edward Lees, 29, Lawrence.

Chang voiced her disappointment Tuesday after learning that one of the youths, 18-year-old Topeka resident James R. Wadley, received probation earlier that day.

Wadley, who was 17 at the time, was one of two youths prosecuted in juvenile court on felony murder and attempted aggravated robbery in Lees' death.

Prosecutors claimed Wadley gave a 9mm semiautomatic pistol to Courtney Crockett, 18, then stayed behind while Crockett accompanied 18-year-old Abraham M. Orr to the Isuzu Trooper driven by Lees.

Orr admitted firing a shot that killed Lees after the victim refused to give up the vehicle. Authorities said Crockett never displayed or fired the pistol that Wadley had given him.

A Douglas County jury ruled during a formal hearing earlier this year that Wadley was responsible for attempted aggravated robbery but not felony murder.

A disposition hearing -- the juvenile equivalent of an adult sentencing -- originally was scheduled in Douglas County but was moved to Shawnee County after Douglas County District Judge Jean Shepherd ruled that having the hearing here wasn't in Wadley's best interests.

Under Kansas law, disposition is held in a juvenile's home county unless having the hearing elsewhere is in the youth's and the community's best interests.

Tuesday's disposition by Shawnee County District Judge Dan Mitchell means that Wadley will not be confined unless he violates a number of conditions.

Those conditions include that Wadley and his family participate in therapy, that he complete his high school education and get a job immediately after graduation and that he complete at least 500 hours of community service work over the next two years.

Chang said she felt Wadley was mature enough to be treated as an adult and be incarcerated.

"He knew what a gun could do," she said. "He knew exactly what was going to happen."

Douglas County Dist. Atty. Jerry Wells also voiced disappointment with the disposition.

"The fact that Mr. Wadley provided a weapon to Mr. Crockett, who accompanied Orr, should have required a more substantial penalty," Wells said.

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