A trial in juvenile court has been set for later this month for a Lawrence teenager charged with two counts of murder, crimes his mother and a neighbor say the boy didn't commit.
Until his June 23 trial, Kellam D. Jones, 16, will be confined at Douglas County Juvenile Detention Center. During Kellam's initial court appearance Tuesday, District Judge Peggy Kittel ruled the youth is a risk to public safety.
Jones' court-appointed attorney, Craig Stancliffe, entered pleas of not guilty on behalf of his client, who is charged with two counts of felony first-degree murder and one count of attempted aggravated robbery.
Jones was charged Monday, two days after a double shooting claimed two men's lives at 1311 Del. Prosecutors and police allege Jones and Gage Hauk, 18, McLouth, went to the Delaware Street home to commit a robbery. Inside the house was resident Roland Klundt. Klundt shot Hauk during the robbery attempt, police said. Then, Jones shot Klundt and fled on foot, according to police. Jones was arrested the next day.
Police recovered a shotgun in the house and a rifle about a block away.
Jones is charged with the two deaths because they occurred during the commission of a felony - in this case, aggravated robbery. Prosecutors don't have to prove that he killed anyone, only that the deaths resulted from his actions.
During the hearing Jones did not speak and sat quietly next to Stancliffe.
Prosecutors have the option of filing a motion to have Jones tried as an adult. A spokeswoman for the district attorney's office said that possibility is under review. If such a motion were filed, a judge would have to rule on it.
Attending Jones' hearing was his mother, Rhonda M. Dolan. Earlier Tuesday outside her Lawrence mobile home, she said she didn't believe her son was guilty, adding that he did not have a gun. She said she spoke to her son when he was being questioned by police Sunday.
"He said, 'Mom, I didn't do it,' Dolan recalled. "We cried. We chit-chatted."
Jones has always been a "pretty good kid; a typical 16-year-old," Dolan said.
During the past few years, his mother said, he experienced some medical problems, including neurocardiosyncopy, which affects the signals the brain sends to the heart.
Jones had known Hauk for about three months, Dolan said. She did not know how the two met.
Jones had dropped out of Free State High School, according to school records. But Dolan said her son eventually wanted to go to college and become a scientist.
Jones also spent time next door baby-sitting with neighbor Carrie Mann's three young children. Like Jones' mother, Mann said she doesn't believe Jones was involved in the shooting incident. She said she was stunned when police found him at her home Sunday and took him in for questioning.
Klundt, who was a sophomore scholarship student at Baker University, was remembered in a statement by Baker Provost Randy Pembrook released Tuesday: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the Klundt family. Baker University is a tightly knit community where each student is appreciated and valued. It is a tragedy to experience such a devastating loss at such a young age."