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Archive for Saturday, December 20, 2003

State briefs

December 20, 2003

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Supreme court

Conviction overturned in drive-by shooting

Topeka -- A man convicted of participating in a drive-by shooting in Wichita will receive a new first-degree murder trial because he did not have a lawyer present when he made an incriminating statement to police.

In a unanimous decision Friday, the Kansas Supreme Court said Michael D. Walker's acknowledgment that he drove the car used in the June 2001 shooting should have been suppressed during his trial.

The shooting killed 16-month-old Lexus Mathis. Police said Walker and a co-defendant, Jermane D. Lowe, were members of the Blood street gang who shot at Lexus' house because her father was a member of the rival Crips gang.

Walker was sentenced to life plus five years and one month in prison. Lowe was sentenced to life plus seven years and four months.

In the Supreme Court's opinion, Justice Marla Luckert noted that Walker acknowledged driving the car about 10 hours into an interview with police officers -- after he had asked for an attorney.

"Since his request for counsel was not honored, all statements made after the request should have been suppressed," Luckert wrote.

Crime

Child abuser sentenced to second prison term

Wichita -- A man who already had served time in prison for abusing a baby girl who later died has been sentenced to a second prison term for hurting another child.

Ty Barnett, 38, was sentenced Thursday in Sedgwick County to six years and three months in prison for breaking the leg and arm of a 1-month-old girl. Barnett pleaded guilty last month to a felony charge of aggravated battery.

Prosecutors said Barnett hurt the child in September in the Wichita apartment where the baby lived. The child's mother was on the telephone at the time.

In the earlier case, Saline County officials said a baby girl living in Salina in 1995 suffered burns to the head and numerous broken bones when she was less than 3 months old. The child was still in a coma when Barnett was sentenced on a child-abuse charge. The girl died after he went to prison.

Barnett was paroled in the Salina case in August 2001.

Courts

New attorney appointed for convicted mother

Olathe -- A judge appointed a new attorney Thursday for a woman who wants to withdraw her guilty plea in the death of her adopted son, who had been disciplined by being wrapped from head to toe with duct tape.

Christy Edgar, leader of a storefront church in Kansas City, Kan., entered guilty pleas unexpectedly in August just before she was about to go on trial with her husband and a baby sitter who belonged to their church.

Edgar pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the death of 9-year-old Brian Edgar against the advice of her attorney, Bob Thomas.

Judge John Bennett granted Thomas permission to withdraw and appointed Kevin Moriarty, a defense attorney with extensive experience.

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