A suspect arrested in connection with the death of a 46-year-old Lawrence man won’t appear in court until Friday.
Lawrence police arrested the 36-year-old homeless man late Wednesday afternoon. He was booked into the Douglas County Jail on a charge of involuntary manslaughter.
Police believe the suspect got into a fight with Douglas Fleming on Sunday, at Fleming’s Old West Lawrence home.
Officers were called to the 800 block of Maine to investigate that incident on Sunday night and Fleming, at that time, declined medical treatment.
He did, however, tell police the name of the man who attacked him.
When police were asked to check on Fleming on Tuesday, after he hadn’t shown up for work, officers found him dead inside his home.
An autopsy performed Wednesday showed Fleming died of a head injury.
One of Fleming’s friends said the self-employed carpenter had a history of hiring people from LINK, the Lawrence Interdenominational Nutrition Kitchen, to help him on projects.
“He did remodeling work,” LINK coordinator and friend Greg Moore said. “He worked hard and he’d often look for people to help. He really gave people a chance. He was a really good guy.”
And that might have gotten Fleming into trouble. Moore said Fleming had been letting the suspect stay at his house.
“The only thing I know is that he hired this guy, and he was a homeless guy,” Moore said. “He was letting him stay at his house for a little while.”
Lawrence police were still investigating a possible motive for the fight.
Moore said the fact that Fleming did not have health insurance might have kept him from seeking treatment for his injuries.
“He probably didn’t have the money to pay for an emergency room bill,” Moore said. “That’s probably why he didn’t go, and he probably didn’t realize how serious his injuries were.”
Prosecutors spent Thursday reviewing the case against the suspect, in preparation of filing criminal charges in the case.