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Archive for Thursday, December 6, 2001

s grandparents testify in shooting trial

December 6, 2001

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Allen Toshavik's grandmother said he had never in his life yelled at her until moments before he was shot and paralyzed on the morning of June 17, 2000.

Toshavik, now 18, was arguing with Ronnell McGautha outside the eastern Lawrence home of his grandparents, Daniel Ramirez and Beverly Toshavik. Ramirez and Beverly Toshavik had stepped outside their front door to see what the argument was about, they said.

Testifying before a Douglas County jury Wednesday, Beverly Toshavik and Ramirez described the confrontation that led to the shooting of their grandson.

"Damn you, grandma get back in the house," Beverly Toshavik remembered her grandson saying. "They have a gun. You might get hurt."

Allen Toshavik then pushed his grandmother and her wheelchair back inside the house and went back out to confront Ronnell McGautha, then 17, and his brother, John McGautha, then 18, the jury was told.

John McGautha is being tried before Douglas County Judge Jack Murphy for attempted first-degree murder in a shooting that left Allen Toshavik paralyzed from the neck down. Police and prosecutors said he was shot twice with a .22-caliber pistol, once in the back and once in the back of the neck.

Ramirez said he initially saw Ronnell McGautha with a pistol. Moments later, however, as he continued to watch the confrontation from his doorway, John McGautha took the gun and Ronnell obtained a baseball bat from the trunk of a car parked nearby.

John McGautha then shot at Allen Toshavik, who started running, Ramirez said. The McGauthas chased him.

Ramirez said he watched as the McGauthas chased his grandson to about 15th and Prospect streets, where another shot was fired. Then there was a third shot, and Ramirez said he saw the McGauthas standing over Allen Toshavik.

"John still had the gun. Ronnell had the baseball bat," Ramirez said.

Beverly Toshavik testified that Allen and his younger brother, Justin Free, then age 14, had come to her house in the 1400 block of East 15th Street sometime around 4 a.m. to spend the remainder of the night.

At some point Beverly Toshavik said she heard someone turning the doorknobs at the front and back of her house as if they were trying to get inside. Allen Toshavik stepped outside the front door to check and began arguing with Ronnell McGautha, Beverly Toshavik said.

The McGauthas were arrested several hours after the shooting following a massive police manhunt in eastern Lawrence. Ronnell McGautha is charged with aiding and abetting attempted first-degree murder.

Ronnell McGautha is in the Jackson County, Mo., Jail awaiting trial next month on drug charges.

His trial in Douglas County will come afterward.

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