Archive for Friday, October 10, 2008

Defendant sentenced to five years in prison for man’s beating death

A 36-year-old Lawrence man received a five-year prison sentence today for his role in the death of an elderly Lawrence man.

October 10, 2008


A 36-year-old Lawrence man Friday received a five-year prison sentence for his involvement in the beating death of an elderly man in southeastern Lawrence.

Jerod Buffalohead had pleaded guilty in September to voluntary manslaughter in the Feb. 2 death of Jerry Deshazer, 62, after a night of drinking. In November, co-defendant Shanna Friday, 37, is scheduled to stand trial on a reckless second-degree murder charge.

Prosecutors have accused Buffalohead and Friday of striking Deshazer and not calling for help. Deshazer bled to death, according to coroner's testimony.

"I'm sorry for not calling for any emergency help for him," Buffalohead said in a statement that his attorney, Kip Elliott, read in court Friday afternoon.

Douglas County District Judge Robert Fairchild sentenced him to serve 61 months in prison.

Two of Deshazer's daughters and his sister spoke during the hearing saying the victim was a decent man involved in community service and helping others, including letting Friday stay at his home while she was in financial trouble.

"I hope you can see Jerry's face in your dreams every night when you are asleep and when you are awake," said Judy Kay Deshazer, of Garland, Texas, who is Jerry Deshazer's younger sister.

She said she was disappointed Buffalohead didn't receive more prison time.

"It wasn't enough, and he did not take responsibility on his part. It angers me," Judy Kay Deshazer said.

According to preliminary hearing testimony in March, Buffalohead had told police Deshazer and Friday had a financial dispute, and Buffalohead tried to break it up.

Buffalohead told police that he back-handed and punched Deshazer and that Friday had struck him with a glass bottle.

During his statement read at sentencing, Buffalohead admitted to slapping Deshazer while he tried to break up the dispute, and he apologized for not being completely truthful with investigators.

But he said he didn't deliver blows that would have injured Deshazer badly, and Buffalohead said he would have called for help if he had known Deshazer was that severely hurt.

"For the record, I didn't do that to Jerry," Buffalohead said in his statement.

Buffalohead had pleaded to the lesser voluntary manslaughter charge after he was ordered to face trial on reckless second-degree murder.

Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson said prosecutors thought Buffalohead's conviction was appropriate although they were disappointed that state guidelines dictated he would not receive more time.

Part of the reason prosecutors accepted the plea was to avoid a jury convicting him of a reduced charge, such as involuntary manslaughter.

"We didn't want to have any risk of lesser time," Branson said.

Fairchild gave Buffalohead credit for serving 250 days in jail, and by law, he is eligible to receive up to 15 percent credit off his sentence for good behavior.


missmagoo 9 years, 5 months ago

This is disgusting and deeply saddening. The defendant is a pos that belongs in PRISION for a loooong time. 5 years is weak!

jackpot 9 years, 5 months ago

guess you need to get drunk and hit him with your car. you would get 14 days and be free by now.

somebodynew 9 years, 5 months ago

Part of the reason prosecutors accepted the plea was to avoid a jury convicting him of a reduced charge, such as involuntary manslaughter."We didn't want to have any risk of lesser time," Branson said.OK, I understand Douglas County juries are fickle (to say the least), BUT isn't it your JOB to prosecute to the "full extent of the law" in some cases such as this one???If the head prosecutor admits the reason he allowed a plea bargin is because he is scared of a jury, that does not give me a lot of faith in that part of the justice system in this county or in that office. You run scared????? Try some vigorous trail tactics and if the jury is stupid it isn't your fault. Giving up without trying (happens a lot w/o making the paper) just shouldn't be an option.I know the cops worked their as**s off to solve this, and this is the thanks they get. Very frustrating indeed.

Deja Coffin 9 years, 5 months ago

Lawrence disgusts me in how lightly they charge people for murder. That kid gets 14 days in jail and this guy only gets 5 years. What the F is going on in this city? Who decides how long these people go to jail once convicted? If it were your family member you'd want a hell of a lot harder punishment. These jail sentences for murder are a joke.

shannanturner1 9 years, 5 months ago

so now if you want a break from life and reality you just go out and take someones life and you get 5 years> are you kidding me, you get more time for selling drugs then you do murder?> what has our world come to>thisis the message i get from these light sentences when a man takes anothers life.. wow

JimmyJoeBob 9 years, 5 months ago

RebelThe sad fact is the Citizens of Lawrence bear all the responsibility for making Lawrence a safe haven for criminals and transients. From our greedy bar owners who create bars that cater to the "KC and Topeka Gangbanger" to our liberal minded citizens who make up our juries. These people don't have the balls to convict and punish these criminals. While I don't always agree with the DA's Office they are putting themselves out there (These thugs remember them also) trying to make a difference.

Taurus4889 9 years, 5 months ago

He deserved more than just 5 years... Jerry was my dad's uncle and a great guy... they did far more than just beat him because they were drunk....They beat him to get his SS check and they beat him so badly his family couldn't even ID him...

independent_rebel 9 years, 5 months ago

If you have ever spoken to police officers, attorneys, etc., they will tell you that for almost 20 years Lawrence has been viewed as a community that caters undesireable activity.Keep a close tab on how many criminals from Topkea come down here to commit crimes they could commit just as easily in Topkea. Why? According to the people I have discussed this with, the reason is Lawrence's liberal politics has fostered a "victim" mentality--for the criminals and a fear of losing political elections!We don't pursue--aggressively--longer sentances for fear of "losing" the case. We cater to a homeless population to the point where the majority of homeless are not originally from Lawrence.Law enforcement agencies from outside Lawrence have--despite the liberals denial--bring criminals who have just been released from prison to Lawrence, where they almost immediately join the ranks of the homeless.I've talked to different law enforcement agencies, talked to attorneys, about why KC & Topeka gangbangers and wanna-be gangbangers drive to Lawrence to "party" in clubs and then create havoc on the streets and stores after the party ends. The answer is these thugs know that if caught being the losers they are they will get off easier than they will in their own communities.Buffalohead is a rarity--he's from Lawrence, grew up here, and I'm sure he's glad his crime was committed here, because he got off easy. Sure, you can (and should) point the finger at the sentencing guidelines that force such a light sentance. But your fist should be pointed at this DA office that wants to put a notch in the "win" column for their ads when they run again for DA.Branson, Kinney, it doesn't matter. The criminals win, the DA's win, but the victims and we the community lose.

LawrenceRules 9 years, 5 months ago

Attention criminals and potential criminals.......Come to Lawrence and be rewarded for your crimes by the champion for criminals Chuck "tough on crime" Branson. This is really embarrassing. For those of you who live in Douglas County you should be trully ashamed of your criminal justice system, or lack thereof.

BlackVelvet 9 years, 5 months ago

The legislature makes the sentencing guidelines, which tell the Judges how much time someone can be senteced to for a specific offense. I don't know what the guidelines are for voluntary manslaughter but the Jugde may or may not have the option of giving him more time. The lawmakers and Judges as well as the District Attorneys are all involved. The cops have the least say in what happens.

Deja Coffin 9 years, 5 months ago

I know, but I was wondering how that makes the cop feels. I mean here they are doing their job bringing the bad guys and the court system just puts them back on the street. If I were a cop I'd find it pretty frustrating.

TheGoldenBoy 9 years, 5 months ago

Five years is the appropriate sentence for a voluntary manslaugher conviction. Does it really matter whether or not its 5 or 10 yrs anyway. When he completes his sentence and is released, it is doubtful that he will ever do something like that again. I once read that convicted killers are the most model inmates in prison because their crime is usually a first offense. It is said though because it sounds like they all knew each and were even friends. Not to say that there is ever any excuse for hitting someone let alone taking their life because there is none. What has happened to american society anyway?

Christine Anderson 9 years, 5 months ago

This is disgusting, and yet to me, not surprising. Welcome to Dg. Co., where our DA's and ADA's have lost their gonads, in fear of juries handing down lighter sentences. What a crock!Hey, Mr. Branson, I have a question for you. In the case a few years ago of a man who killed his wife, the monster got 25 to life. You prosecuted that case. Why did you have balls enough to give that man what he deserved, but not enough to see that Mr. Deshazer got justice?What a pathetic justice system we have, when murderers and their lawyers can explain to the prosecuting attorney(s) that they have them over a barrel, and so they may as well settle, to avoid the possible embarrassment of losing a case! Sick, sick, sick!

palmettostar 9 years, 5 months ago

It does matter the amount of time he gets because time and time again, we see people getting off "easily" while others are sentenced to longer amounts of time for crimes that are pretty much the exact same or similar. The kid who got only a year probation for fleeing the scene after killing a guy in a car accident and now this, only 5 years when the guy actually died - it's ridiculous. I have a friend who's in prison right now for 13 years because he beat up a guy and they said he tried to murder him. None of it makes sense.

JimmyJoeBob 9 years, 5 months ago

The sad part if you attended the sentencing was that Buffalohead had the audacity to blame Jerry for what happened. He tried to lessen his involvment in the murder by saying he only slapped Jerry. An earlier story reported Jerod admitted to doing much more than what he admitted to during sentencing. A Journal World story March 18,2008 reported that during the preliminary hearing, A Lawrence police detective also testified that Buffalohead changed his story several times until he admitted to trying to separate Deshazer and Friday during an alcohol-fueled financial dispute. Buffalohead told police he back-handed and punched Deshazer three times and that Friday struck him with a glass bottle. Supposedly he did this in self-defense. If anyone has seen the size difference between Jerod and Jerry they know that is also a lie. Jerod is still lying about his involvement and that is a shame. THe only people he apologized to was his family. In my mind he totally disrespected Jerry and his family. Jerod is a disgrace to not only his family but the entire human race.

BlackVelvet 9 years, 5 months ago

was it Branson or the Judge's fault for this? Don't automatically blame the DA. If there isn't enough evidence to support a murder charge, the manslaughter charge may be the best alternative. We don't know all the details.

Deja Coffin 9 years, 5 months ago

right but isn't there a big difference between voluntary and involuntary manslaughter? And if there is then 5 years is hardly suitable.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 9 years, 5 months ago

"...He got five years, what a surpriseHe got five years, stuck on my eyesHe got five years, my brain hurts a lotFive years, thats all he got...."

somebodynew 9 years, 5 months ago

And before the grammer/english police come after me - it should have be trial tactics not trail tactics. I saw it at the last second, but hit the wrong button.

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