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Archive for Saturday, June 26, 2004

Lawrence mugging conviction upheld

June 26, 2004

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— The Kansas Supreme Court on Friday upheld the conviction of a woman sentenced in connection with the 2001 mugging of a 78-year-old man in Lawrence.

Sonji Daniels was sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison for charges stemming from the April 4, 2001, robbery of James Lewis, who was knocked down in the alley west of Massachusetts street that connects 10th and 11th streets, court records said.

Lewis, who had just cashed his paycheck at Capitol Federal Savings at 10th and Vermont streets, was robbed of $293, according to court records. Daniels was convicted of aiding and abetting aggravated robbery, conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery and endangering a child, court records said.

She appealed her conviction on numerous grounds, including that the trial court should not have allowed testimony from her 12-year-old son, who had been questioned by police.

The Kansas Supreme Court, however, ruled that Daniels missed her chance to argue this point because the defense failed to object to the admission of the statement during the trial.

On appeal, Daniels' attorney said the conviction also was flawed because the jury didn't find an essential element of aggravated robbery, specifically that bodily harm was inflicted on Lewis. The element was not explained to jurors by the trial judge.

The appeals court, however, ruled that the element of bodily harm was supported by evidence that was presented at trial.

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