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Archive for Thursday, June 28, 2001

Missouri detention delays suspect’s return to Kansas

June 28, 2001

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In December, when Ronnell McGautha was released from the Douglas County Jail, computer checks didn't reveal a warrant for his arrest in a drug case in Jackson County, Mo.

Now that Missouri authorities have him, it could be some time before McGautha returns to Douglas County to face trial on charges involving a near-fatal shooting.

McGautha, 18, was arrested early Tuesday at a residence in Kansas City, Mo. Police in that city were notified by the Douglas County Sheriff's Department after a tip was received, Sheriff Rick Trapp said.

McGautha was charged in Douglas County with aiding and abetting attempted first-degree murder after a June 17, 2000, shooting in eastern Lawrence. McGautha's brother, John McGautha, 19, is charged with attempted first-degree murder in the same case.

The McGauthas were released from jail in December while questions were resolved about their right to a speedy trial. They failed to show for subsequent court hearings. Law enforcement authorities looked for them over the next several months.

John McGautha was arrested in May in Omaha, Neb.

When Kansas City Police arrested Ronnell McGautha, they learned that he was wanted in Jackson County. In March 1999, he was charged there with drug trafficking, court officials said.

In October 1999, a warrant was issued for his arrest for failing to meet pre-trial release conditions, officials said.

Jail officers routinely make computer record checks on all prisoners being released, Sheriff's Lt. Kathy Tate said. Those checks were made on the McGauthas, she said.

No one was available to comment at the Jackson County Sheriff's office.

The earliest date available for Ronnell McGautha to go to trial in Jackson County would be Aug. 20, said Ellen Crawford, a court spokeswoman. No trial date, however, has been set, she said.

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