Archive for Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Witness testifies of fatal shooting

Topekan tells court he hid in utility closet during deadly confrontation

June 25, 2003


A Topeka man described Tuesday hiding during an armed confrontation in March that left a Lawrence man dead and two people charged with his murder.

Randy R. Owens, 27, testified in a preliminary hearing in Douglas County District Court that he hid in a utility closet during the confrontation between Tremain V. Scott and Quincy Sanders inside the door of a south Lawrence duplex.

Owens said he heard shots, came out and heard Scott say, "I shot the (expletive) in the head." Owens also said that as Sanders was lying on the ground motionless, Scott picked up a gun Sanders had been holding and shot him with it.

Scott, 21, Overland Park, and Corey T. Robinson, 23, Topeka, are charged with second-degree murder in the early morning March 14 shooting of Sanders, a 21-year-old Lawrence resident.

But Owens apparently contradicted information in an earlier police report when he testified that at no point did he see Robinson with a gun.

Owens, who was charged with helping Scott and Robinson, last week reached a plea agreement with the state, and an informal condition of the agreement was that he would describe the shooting in court, he said.

"I knew I was going to have to testify," he said while on the stand.

The preliminary hearing, which is to determine whether there's enough evidence to try Scott and Robinson, has been emotional.

At one point, Judge Paula Martin witnessed a confrontation between crowd members outside the courtroom during a recess. When court resumed, she warned the roughly 25 spectators that if they didn't behave, she would keep them out of the courtroom.

Sanders' widow, Michelle, stood up at least once and left the courtroom in tears, saying "They killed my husband."

Attorneys for both the defense and the state have been trying to keep straight a number of nicknames - among them Loon, C-Murder, Chameleon and Main Street - as they pick apart witnesses' testimony.

The basic storyline of what happened appears to be this: On March 13, Scott, Robinson and Owens went to The Granada, a Massachusetts Street nightclub, and met a group of young women.

They later went to a duplex in the 2600 block of Ridge Court where one of the women lived. They smoked "blunts" marijuana rolled into cigar wrappers.

Robinson and Scott each paired off with one of the women and went into separate bedrooms while Owens remained in the living room with the others.

A man later came into the home and accused Owens of trying to hit on his girlfriend. Sanders' brother came in later with another man and looked into each bedroom, and a few minutes after they left, Quincy Sanders, who was a cousin to some of the women, knocked on the door.

The hearing continues Thursday.

Staff writer Eric Weslander can be reached at 832-7146.

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