Archive for Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Beating death suspects’ charges reduced

March 19, 2008


Judge reduces charges in murder trial

Charges against two Lawrence residents charged with beating a man to death were reduced in court on Tuesday. Enlarge video

Shanna Friday

Shanna Friday

Jerod Buffalohead

Jerod Buffalohead

A judge Tuesday ordered two suspects in the beating death of a Lawrence man to stand trial - on reduced charges.

Douglas County District Judge Robert Fairchild ruled that Jerod Buffalohead, 36, and Shanna Friday, 37, be tried on one count each of reckless second-degree murder. The two are suspected in the Feb. 2 death of Jerry Deshazer, 62, at Deshazer's mobile home in southeastern Lawrence.

The two had been charged with intentional second-degree murder. At the conclusion of a preliminary hearing, Amy McGowan, a chief assistant Douglas County district attorney, asked the judge to order a trial for felony murder, a stiffer charge. McGowan said the defendants had tried to rob Deshazer.

But Kay Huff, Friday's attorney, said there was no true indication that robbery was a motive.

"It looks like this is a group of people sitting around drinking, and drinking too much, who make some provocative remarks and a fight ensues," she said.

The judge said evidence supported the lesser second-degree murder charges.

"I really don't think there's any evidence that they intended to rob him before they beat him," Fairchild said.

The judge ordered the two back in court April 3, when it's anticipated he'll set a trial date.

A reckless second-degree murder conviction carries a prison term of about nine to 41 years, compared with 12 to 54 years for intentional second-degree murder and 20 years to life for felony murder.

On Monday, an eyewitness, Jarvis Jones, testified he had been drinking at Deshazer's home and woke up from a drunken sleep to see Buffalohead punching Deshazer. But defense attorneys questioned how trustworthy Jones was because he'd been drinking and he didn't help the injured Deshazer.

"The court can take into consideration the credibility of that witness," said Kip Elliot, Buffalohead's attorney.

Detectives testified that Buffalohead told them he hit Deshazer to defend himself and Friday.

Dr. Donald Pojman, deputy Douglas County coroner, testified Tuesday that Deshazer died from blood loss because of blunt trauma to the head that peeled back skin on the right side of his forehead.

Deshazer also suffered other facial injuries. Deshazer's health problems, along with his 0.11 percent blood-alcohol content and his use of a pain medication could have increased his blood loss, Pojman said.

Pojman also said the scene included trails of blood throughout the house, which made it a confusing scene.

"There's a lot of questions on the scene that I can't put together and say this is a nice, easy thing that happened," he said.


LawSW 10 years, 3 months ago

Well, hopefully the forensic team can piece together what happened at the scene (blood trails, etc.), Mr. Coroner. Hum, maybe a profiler can figure out what the motive was (robbery vs. disagreement gone bad or both).

trinity 10 years, 3 months ago

yeah you know like them forensic teams they have on the teevee.

Baille 10 years, 3 months ago

And of that I am afraid, Trinity. Has to be a tongue-in-cheek post, right?

justthefacts 10 years, 3 months ago

Maybe not. Unfortunately for the justice system, a lot of people have warped ideas about what real life investigators can actually do (and the time frames). And yes, a lot of those ideas come from TV shows or movies. Hint: The people who produce these shows are not experts in anything but entertainment. And even with the help of expert advisors on a topic, the entertainment value demands quicker, easier, and better solutions then real life can ever provide. Anyone who wants the TV - movie solutions to or versions of real life should pursue the vocation in question - since they know so much about how it SHOULD (or could) be done better!

emceelean 10 years, 3 months ago

If I had a nickel for a the times I have "woke up from a drunken sleep..."

Baille 10 years, 3 months ago

Speaking of CSI:

Catch Caruso's line delivery method of short partial sentence with rising tone at the end, followed by placing sunglasses, and ending with rest of sentence delivered with dropping tone of finality. Wallow in the cheese.

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