Advertisement

Archive for Wednesday, July 2, 2008

One of two murder charges dropped against Del. Street shooting suspect

Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson: "When we originally had the case, we didn't have all the information into the District Attorney's office as far as the exact occurrences and the exact steps in the occurrences of the killing of the two individuals, so we charged it, and charged both counts. Since then, additional investigation has been done. We've reviewed the situation and in accordance with Kansas state law, or case law under the Kansas Supreme Court, we have to drop the second charge."

July 2, 2008, 3:33 p.m. Updated July 2, 2008, 3:55 p.m.

Advertisement

One of two felony murder charges was dropped on Wednesday against a Lawrence teenager charged in last month's shooting at a house in the 1300 block of Delaware Street.

Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson said the charge was dismissed because additional investigation since the incident resulted in a clearer picture of the circumstances and order of events that occurred early on June 7.

The teen, 16-year-old Kellam D. Jones, is still charged as a juvenile with one count of felony murder and one count of attempted aggravated robbery.

Police and prosecutors allege that Jones and an accomplice, Gage Hauk, 18, McLouth, had gone to 1311 Del. to commit a robbery. Gunfire erupted, killing Hauk and the occupant of the house, Roland Klundt, 20.

Jones was initially charged under the felony murder law with both deaths. But Branson noted on Wednesday that in accordance with Kansas case law based on a state Supreme Court ruling, a felon may not be convicted of felony murder for the killing of his co-felon caused by the lawful acts of a victim of aggravated robbery.

"It's kind of a quirk compared to the other felony murder rules that we normally apply, but we wanted to make sure we had as much charged as possible based on the information we had," Branson said. "Then, once we found out the additional information, it was necessary for us to go ahead and pull that charge."

Branson declined to discuss details in the additional information or the order of events of the shooting.

In a news conference following the shooting, Lawrence police said that during the robbery attempt, Klundt shot Hauk and Jones shot Klundt.

Prosecutors filed a motion last month to have Jones tried as an adult on the charges. A hearing was to be conducted Wednesday, but Judge Michael Malone continued it to Aug. 8. He also set a hearing for other motions for July 24.

Comments

TheEleventhStephanie 6 years ago

I see it's already been said.

0

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

Even if he had been charged with both of these murders (it appears that there was really only one murder,) the sentences for both would have likely been served concurrently. So this shouldn't have any effect on how long he'll be imprisoned.

0

WHY 6 years ago

I don't see any new details in the case, Branson just messed up originally and now wants to pretend like he knows what is going on.

0

Sigmund 6 years ago

If there are policy reasons for restraints on the felony murder rule, like prison overcrowding, I would think that is the role of the elected branch of government, the legislature, not the courts. As for only holding people liable for the intended consequences for what they do, what to make of reckless endangerment where no harm is intended, or the statutory rape case where the rapist had reason to believe their consenting partner was of age, or the ultra hazardous activities where we hold the actors strictly liable? The felony murder rule isn't significantly different from these other established rules or principles of law, is it?Anyway I realize I am in the minority in my views and I agree with policy reasons for application of the felony murder rule in these cases, to deter all those engaged in inherently dangerous felonies from killing negligently, accidentally, or even causing others to kill justifiably.

0

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

Jones was initially charged under the felony murder law with both deaths. But Branson noted on Wednesday that state law says that a felon may not be convictedof felony murder for the killing of his co-felon caused by the lawful acts of a victim of aggravated robbery.---took the DA this long to figger this out? if the state law says that plainly, then why'd he charge the teen with the death of his "cofellon" in the first place? ***cofellon is an interesting word. so, if the person protecting himself kills one of the two cofellons, the other doesn't get charged with felony murder. even though he was in the conspiracy that led to his partner/cofelon's death. maybe this law needs changing? are there other charges the DA might raise, or is it too late now?

0

ebyrdstarr 6 years ago

Sigmund, the Sophophone case cites an ALR article that did a survey on the agency vs. proximate cause approaches to felony murder. I haven't done any further research than that yet and since it's cited in Sophophone, it's obviously at least 7 years old. But that should be a good starting point.As for whether the Kansas court got it right, I must say I agree with the majority. I believe the agency approach is a proper restraint on the felony murder doctrine. In this particular type of situation, I would have a real problem with assigning criminal liability to Jones for an act that was not the least bit criminal. Klundt did nothing wrong by shooting at the armed intruders, so it makes no sense to me to try to hold someone else criminally liable for a completely lawful act. Jones faces a life sentence if he is convicted of killing Klundt. Do we really need him to get any longer sentence?Jafs, I agree with you completely. Felony murder doctrine is out of control. Our prisons nationwide are filled with guys who were just along for the ride, making bad choices no doubt, but had no intention of anyone getting hurt. I don't see the point in holding the guy who had no idea anyone had a gun as responsible as we hold the guy who actually pulled the trigger.

0

OzChicklet 6 years ago

"yellowhouse (Anonymous) says: It is too bad the Prosecutors Marietta Parker and Terra Morehead in Federal court can't just admit when they made a mistake::And are prosecuting the Yellow House case because they owed someone a really big favor!"Hey, maybe the robbers were after stuff in the house to sell to Yellow House for "clean" cash.....

0

Steve Jacob 6 years ago

It is a bunch of (deleted). So because Mr. Klundt did everything right, Mr. Jones will get out of jail sooner? Think about that!

0

Darth_Vader 6 years ago

This is the right call on the part of the DA

0

crispysyn 6 years ago

Leave it to our wonderful b.s. laws to leave ANOTHER loophole. He should be charged for both. Total bullcrap!

0

littlegrace 6 years ago

Hauk was part of the crime his death was his own fault.

0

Sigmund 6 years ago

Das_Ubermime (Anonymous) says: "I can understand the reasoning behind the law. Since, killing Hauk was not against the law, it cannot be considered a crime. Can't charge someone with a crime that didn't occur." As far as I know Kansas is the only State who interrupts its felony murder rule this way and most hold a co-felon liable when they place another person in a position where a home owner or a law enforcement officer is justified in killing them. The felony murder statute is not an unreasonable law and it is the Kansas Supreme Courts interpretation that is at odds with the other states who have a felony murder statute.

0

simplifying 6 years ago

I have a lot of respect for Branson and his office. What he did to drop the second charge is the norm for charging by most district attorney offices.Citizen of Lawrence

0

Sigmund 6 years ago

"But Branson noted on Wednesday that state law says that a felon may not be convicted of felony murder for the killing of his co-felon caused by the lawful acts of a victim of aggravated robbery."They over charged and have now amended the charges. No harm, no foul. The Kansas case law on this diverges from the majority of the States and he could have gone forward and appealed the dismissal hoping the KS Supreme Court had come to its senses, but that would be futile really.

0

Sigmund 6 years ago

KSA 21-3401. Murder in the first degree. Murder in the first degree is the killing of a human being committed: (a) Intentionally and with premeditation; or (b) in the commission of, attempt to commit, or flight from an inherently dangerous felony as defined in K.S.A. 21-3436 and amendments thereto.http://www.kslegislature.org/legsrv-statutes/getStatute.do?number=11666Note any "killing" justified or not falls within the statute. The dissent in this case wrote, "When an issue requires statutory analysis and the statute is unambiguous, we are limited by the wording chosen by the legislature. We are not free to alter the statutory language, regardless of the result. In the present case, the felony-murder statute does not require us to adopt the "agency" theory favored by the majority. Indeed, there is nothing in the statute which establishes an agency approach. The statute does not address the issue at all. The requirements, according to the statute, are: (1) there must be a killing, and (2) the killing must be committed in the commission, attempt to commit, or flight from an inherently dangerous felony. The statute simply does not contain the limitations discussed by the majority. There is nothing in K.S.A. 21-3401 which requires us to adopt the agency approach or that requires Sophophone to be the shooter in this case. The facts in this case, in my opinion, satisfy all of the requirements set forth in K.S.A. 21-3401(b)."http://www.kscourts.org/cases-and-opinions/opinions/supct/2001/20010309/82647.htmThe purpose of the felony-murder doctrine is to deter all those engaged in felonies from killing negligently, accidentally, or even causing others from killing justifiably.

0

Baille 6 years ago

Why should someone be held accountable for a justifiable killing?

0

yellowhouse 6 years ago

It is too bad the Prosecutors Marietta Parker and Terra Morehead in Federal court can't just admit when they made a mistake...... And are prosecuting the Yellow House case because they owed someone a really big favor!

0

yellowhouse 6 years ago

And now look at all the rumors about the Police chief going around, and a rumor now that there is a new Lawrence Police Chief.See what doing corrupt favors for people gets you...a big mess of rumors!

0

ebyrdstarr 6 years ago

Sigmund, at the time the Kansas State Supreme Court decided this issue, the majority of other states that had also decided the issue sided with Kansas. It's called the "agency" approach to felony murder. Kansas is most certainly not the only state to adopt this approach. The approach that allows the defendant to be charged with the death that occurred in self-defense represented the minority of states as of 2001.I haven't done any research to determine whether the balance has shifted nationwide on this issue, but it's wrong to suggest that the Kansas court is out by itself in left field on this issue.

0

jafs 6 years ago

I have a problem with "felony murder" statutes in the first place.Someone who participates in a felony is not guilty of murder - the person who commits the murder is, imho.Why not just charge folks with what they actually do?

0

dweezil222 6 years ago

The way the law is written, this is 100% the right decision. Charles Branson, how the hell did you get to be DA and not know that the second felony murder charge wouldn't fly?

0

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

worth repeating:The way the law is written, this is 100% the right decision. Charles Branson, how the hell did you get to be DA and not know that the second felony murdercharge wouldn't fly?---indeed, Klundt's killing of hauk seems justifiable. however, jones took part in the conspiracy and the actions that led to hauk's death. I certainly can see the logic that most stats have in their law, jones oughta be charged with felony murder. too bad this exception is in the kansas law.

0

Gareth 6 years ago

Because, dumbasses, they have to charge it that way, until the forensics come back to prove conclusively that the victim shot the other robber. Until the lab results are in, both deaths are on Jones. Once the results came back, they amended the charges.Really, folks -- use your brains for a change.

0

Sigmund 6 years ago

ebyrdstarr (Anonymous) says: "Sigmund, at the time the Kansas State Supreme Court decided this issue, the majority of other states that had also decided the issue sided with Kansas. It's called the "agency" approach to felony murder. Kansas is most certainly not the only state to adopt this approach."It was my understanding that of the states that had a felony murder rule the "proximate cause" approach (but for the actions of a co-felon the killing of his co-felon accomplice would not have happened) was the norm. Those states that adopted the "agency" theory, the felony murder rule itself had been abolished altogether.ebyrdstarr (Anonymous) says:"I haven't done any research to determine whether the balance has shifted nationwide on this issue,"Neither have I. I must confess I agree with the dissent in this case nothing in the statute requires a agency or proximate cause analysis, as if that wasn't obvious. I also agree with policy reasons for application of the felony murder rule in these cases, to deter all those engaged in felonies from killing negligently, accidentally, or even causing others to kill justifiably.If your research should uncover a survey of states felony murder rules and application please post it. If I get a chance I'll do the same.

0

Sigmund 6 years ago

bearded_gnome (Anonymous) says:"The way the law is written, this is 100% the right decision. Charles Branson, how the hell did you get to be DA and not know that the second felony murder charge wouldn't fly?"Actually when the Kansas legislature drafted and passed the "felony murder law" there was no indication in the statute that they meant to exclude self defense killings, that interpretation was the Kansas Supreme Courts which came years later and is of course binding.Gareth (Anonymous) says: "Because, dumbasses, they have to charge it that way, until the forensics come back to prove conclusively that the victim shot the other robber. Until the lab results are in, both deaths are on Jones. Once the results came back, they amended the charges."Nonsense. They don't have to charge anyone for anything prior to "lab results" coming in. In fact there is no limitation on how long after a murder they can file charges, no limitation on actions. Anyway, what "lab results" came in that changed their minds on the law? Dumbass.

0

TheEleventhStephanie 6 years ago

Hey YellowHouse, Why does EVERYTHING have to always be about YellowHouse?

0

dorothy 6 years ago

Funny that the same man from the 6 News video who described the gunshots he heard and gave a description of a white car leaving the scene is the same man in July 4ths news that was robbed at gunpoint in his home just a few doors down. I've thought all along that there was more to that story than 2 men were robbing a house. This is too much to be a coincidence. Sounds to me like maybe authorities should be taking finding that white car more seriously.

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.