Archive for Thursday, March 13, 2003

Five arrested in park beating case

March 13, 2003


Five people are in the Douglas County Jail in connection with the stabbing and beating of a Mayetta man who police say was left for dead Monday at Riverfront Park.

Four suspects are from Emporia and one is from Oklahoma.

They're accused of robbing and beating 21-year-old Josh Greemore sometime late Sunday or early Monday at the Jayhawk Motel, 1004 N. Third St.

A police spokesman said it appeared that robbery was the only motive in the attack, but he couldn't give details about how it happened.

"Detectives concluded that Mr. Greemore was the victim of a robbery," Lawrence Police Sgt. Mike Pattrick said. "He was then beaten, bound, stabbed and left for dead."

A passer-by found Greemore unconscious about 6:40 a.m. Monday on the outskirts of Riverfront Park in North Lawrence. He was in fair condition Wednesday night at a Kansas City-area hospital.

Police recovered "evidence and weapons consistent with the injuries" after they searched a car, a residence in Emporia, and two rooms in the motel, Pattrick said.

Greemore and another man, Dustin W. Lewis, 22, Della, were sharing a room at the motel. Lewis said that they were in Lawrence to visit a friend who attends Haskell Indian Nations University.

Lewis said that Sunday night he lent Greemore the keys to his car, a 1991 Geo Storm, and went to sleep. It was the same car that two of the suspects were accused of stealing and driving through southeast Kansas.

Lewis told police the car was stolen sometime between 11 p.m. Sunday and early Monday morning, when police banged on the door of his motel room.

"I didn't know what was happening," Lewis said. "They asked me who was staying in the room and if I knew Josh."

Lewis said he thought the suspects might have been staying in a room two doors down.

Police arrested two of the suspects-- Leslie Thomas Howe, 22, Emporia, and Jeremy S. Harris, Oklahoma -- after a manhunt in southeast Kansas. They arrested the three others-- James A. Keezer, 20, Emporia; Scott L. Staggs, 33, Emporia, and Sara M. Bruce, 19, Emporia -- at a residence in rural Leavenworth County, Pattrick said.

At a court appearance by the five suspects Monday, Douglas County Judge Pro Tem Peggy Kittel ruled that there was probable cause to hold Staggs, Keezer and Harris on charges of attempted first-degree murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated kidnapping and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery. She set their bond at $500,000.

Howe and Bruce face all the above charges except attempted murder. Kittel set their bond at $300,000.

In addition, Howe and Harris face charges of felony theft.

Members of Greemore's family were in the courtroom during the suspects' appearance, but they refused to comment afterward.

-- 6News anchor/reporter Janet Reid contributed to this report.

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