Archive for Friday, April 2, 2010

Suspect in Lawrence man’s death released from jail; DA asks for more investigation

Police said they needed more information in the case.

April 2, 2010


The suspect arrested earlier this week in connection with a man’s death in the 800 block of Maine Street was released from the Douglas County Jail Friday pending further investigation, Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson said.

“We won’t make a charging decision until we’ve had an opportunity to get the finalized reports and meet with the coroner and talk to him about the injuries,” Branson said.

Lawrence police arrested the 36-year-old homeless man on a charge of involuntary manslaughter Wednesday afternoon, meaning prosecutors had until Friday afternoon to formally file charges to keep the suspect held in jail.

The man was arrested in connection with the death of 46-year-old Douglas Fleming after police found Fleming’s body at his Old West Lawrence home Tuesday. Police said the suspect got into a fight with Fleming on Sunday at Fleming’s 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 was involved in the altercation with him on Sunday.

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, according to Lawrence police.

Branson’s office had reviewed information in the case trying to make a decision on formal charges. The suspect was originally expected to make a first appearance in court Friday afternoon. But he was released from the jail after Branson said his office wanted additional information and more time to review evidence and reports in the case.

The Journal-World generally does not name criminal suspects until they have been formally charged.


Scruggsy 8 years, 2 months ago

He (Branson) better be sure about this one, because it's obvious this guy will be on the first thing smoking outta Lawrence, never to be found until his next unfortunate incident...

ebyrdstarr 8 years, 2 months ago

The problem is that if all the police have to go on is the statement of the victim, they have nothing that can be presented in court. The victim's testimonial statement to the police falls squarely under the 6th Amendment confrontation clause. Since he is now an unavailable witness, the state can't use it at trial because the defense never had an opportunity to cross-examine the guy. The only possible exception would be a dying declaration, but the victim has to know (or truly believe) that death is imminent. The victim here declined medical treatment, so that is a pretty clear indication that he had no idea he was going to die.

Moderateguy 8 years, 2 months ago

Un-freaking-believable... (Shaking head...)

My most heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr. Fleming. The system has truly failed you.

fiercesomeus 8 years, 2 months ago

should not have been arrested in the first place if that is all it was "A fight" because the victim refused medical treatment

50YearResident 8 years, 2 months ago

I saw in the Obituary that the victim was married. Anyone know if she was present when the fight occured?

OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 2 months ago

See that guy on the back of that freight train waving goodbye as the train leaves Lawrence? That's your suspect. Later, dude.

Randall Barnes 8 years, 2 months ago

how do they know that it was the homeless man ? maby after the fight him and his wife got into an argument and she hit him in the head with a frying pan ? good job on this one branson make sure you have the right person.

kansasredlegs 8 years, 2 months ago

Confrontation Clause Not Applicable ebyrdstarr. When the State can present sufficient evidence to show that the person charged was the one who kept the deceased from testifying, i.e., killing the witness) confrontation not violated. In such a situation, the defendant has forfeited his or her right to confrontation. Statement comes in.

lionheart72661 8 years, 2 months ago are assuming it was murder has anyone even "assumed" it could be self defense? Just because the guy was homeless we will just "assume" he started the fight. Now it is unfortunate that Mr. Fleming died of the injuries sustained in the fight...but we are supposed to be a system of innocent until proven guilty. Looks like some of you are already building the gallows to hang this guy!

kansasredlegs 8 years, 2 months ago

Hey, shouldn't LJWorld be monitoring / censoring our comments since I'm sure posters may actually say negative and bad things about the alleged perpetrator, the deceased and Mr. Branson. I'm calling for the "LJWorld Censorship Box" to implemented.

ebyrdstarr 8 years, 2 months ago

Redlegs, you should read the most recent US Supreme Court case on forfeiture by wrongdoing, the theory of admissibility you mentioned. It's Giles v. California, issued June 25, 2008. For the doctrine of forfeiture by wrongdoing to apply, the state must prove not just that the defendant made the witness unavailable, like by killing the witness. Instead, the state must prove that the defendant made the witness unavailable for the specific purpose of preventing the witness from testifying. It's a difficult burden that the state can almost assuredly not meet in this fact pattern. The victim's statement in this case will not meet the Giles requirement and will not be admissible.

mxchic 8 years, 2 months ago

RANDO1965.....His wife would happen to by my mother who was not even there when it happened. I will not give out any information about what did happen because the investigation is still pending although I would like for all of you to think about who might be reading this and how it will effect those that you are talking about. For our family this is a very real and traumatic situation and the facts have not completely been released to the public. You do not know the people that you are making jokes about and because of that I do not feel that you are in a place to do so.

strateup 8 years, 2 months ago

MXCHIC my condolences go out to you and your family in the loss of your father.

Randall Barnes 8 years, 2 months ago

mxchic i feel sorry for your loss. i didn't say your mom had anything to do with it i was using that as an example sorry if that offended you.

maby he was working on the roof and fell off.maby it wasn;t the homeless. we don't know that's why i'm saying good job branson.

dillydally 8 years, 2 months ago

mxchic, my condolences to your family. I grew up with Doug and never knew him to be anything but a kind & gentle soul. I hope he has found the peace he so greatly deserved, regardless of the circumstances of his death.

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