Archive for Wednesday, April 10, 2002

Second murder charge filed

April 10, 2002


— A second murder charge was filed Tuesday in what prosecutors and a defense attorney are calling a botched, bloody attempt to steal marijuana and money.

Also, lawyers for the state and a woman seeking lesser charges in exchange for helping police gave the most detailed account yet of the Oct. 14, 1999, night that a shotgun blast hit Clarence Rinke in his rural Lawrence home.

"She thought they were going to steal some pot that was owed to (Noah J.) Gleason anyway," attorney Dennis Hawver said. "I don't think anybody went there intending to kill anybody."

Hawver, of Ozawkie, represents Charolette M. Bennett. Hawver said he is negotiating a plea agreement for the 29-year-old Lawrence woman and that she is aiding the prosecution led by Assistant Jefferson County Atty. Vic Braden.

Braden filed a first-degree murder charge Tuesday against Gleason, 42, rural Lawrence. At Braden's request, Magistrate Judge Dennis Reiling increased Gleason's bond from $250,000 to $500,000.

Collin E. Cady, 32, McLouth, is already facing a first-degree murder charge. He also is in jail on $500,000 bond.

Cady, Gleason and Bennett were arrested April 2 by Jefferson County Sheriff's officers and Kansas Bureau of Investigation agents, ending an investigation that lasted 2 1/2 years.

Bennett was charged with conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery and is being held on $250,000 bond.

Gleason and Cady also were initially charged with conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery, but Braden on Tuesday amended their charges to conspiracy to commit burglary. Braden said the evidence better supports the lesser, amended charges.

Preliminary hearings for Gleason and Cady, set for Tuesday, were rescheduled for 10:30 a.m. April 22.

Bennett waived her right to a preliminary hearing. She is to be arraigned at 9:30 a.m. May 9.

Hawver, her attorney, concurred with some information Braden had released about Bennett's alleged involvement in the killing and what happened at Rinke's the night of the shooting. But Hawver also added some fresh details.

"She didn't know Clarence Rinke Â- she'd never seen him before," Hawver said, following Tuesday's court hearing.

Bennett agreed to drive Gleason and Cady to the area of Rinke's farm near 21st and Republic streets, Hawver said. While the men hid themselves on or near the farm, Bennett contacted Rinke over an intercom from an electronic gate about three-quarters of a mile down a drive from the house. Bennett lured Rinke to the gate with the pretense of seeking directions.

She was gone, however, by the time Rinke arrived at the gate and went back to the house, Hawver said. She talked with the accused killers by cell phone as she handled her mission, Hawver said.

Braden said he wouldn't confirm all the details of Hawver's account because he can't discuss specific evidence. But Braden did say Rinke returned to the house and found the men inside. A struggle ensued, and Rinke was shot with the sawed-off shotgun Cady was carrying, he said.

Rinke called 911 and said he had been shot. He was found dead in his kitchen when law officers arrived. They were forced to get to Rinke's house on foot because they couldn't open the electronic gate.

Rinke, a gun collector who owned River City Replicas in Lawrence, was also thought by federal and local law enforcement agencies to be involved in a multi-state drug ring. A large amount of drugs and money were on his property, officers have said. Braden said Gleason and Cady planned to steal marijuana and cash from Rinke.

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