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Archive for Monday, January 11, 2010

City glad to be below average in one area: murder

January 11, 2010

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Murders in Lawrence this decade

• Year — Murders

• 2000 — 0

• 2001 — 1

• 2002 — 2

• 2003 — 3

• 2004 — 2

• 2005 — 5

• 2006 — 2

• 2007 — 0

• 2008 — 4

• 2009 — 0

Murder victims

Lawrence's list of victims

On Feb. 1, 2008, Jerry Deshazer bled to death at his southeastern Lawrence home after being struck in the head. Deshazer’s death would be the first of four murders in Lawrence in 2008. In June, two men — Greg Hauk, 18, and Roland Klundt, 20 — were shot and killed during a robbery, and in July, Kansas University student Jana Mackey was found murdered in her former boyfriend’s home in Lawrence.

But in 2009, the area was spared such crimes, as the year ended with no murders in either Lawrence or Douglas County.

“Any year you go without such a crime is a great thing,” said Lawrence Mayor Rob Chestnut. “We want that trend to continue.”

2009 is one of only three years in the past decade during which no murders have occurred in the city, according to statistics from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

Overall, the decade saw 19 deaths classified as murder, which includes first- and second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter. The year with the most murders was 2005, with five overall, including the deaths of three people in October during an arson fire at Boardwalk Apartments.

While local law enforcement can breathe a sigh of relief, Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson said such crimes are difficult to predict or prevent.

“Obviously we are pleased,” he said. “But we know we have little control over when these events happen.”

Kenna Quinet, a criminal justice professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis who studies homicide trends, urged caution in interpreting murder statistics in a smaller city like Lawrence.

“This is great news, but given those really small numbers, I wouldn’t draw any conclusions,” she said, adding that it takes four or five years in increases or decreases to identify a trend.

Lower than national rate

Lawrence’s overall murder rate for the decade, which the FBI tabulates per 100,000 residents, is about half that of cities of comparable size. Between 2006 and 2008, the national murder rate for cities between 50,000 and 99,000 residents was about five murders per 100,000 people, but in the same time frame, Lawrence’s rate was sightly above two.

Murders across the country are on the decline and dropped 10 percent between the first six months of 2008 and 2009, according to preliminary statistics from the FBI.

And while Lawrence hasn’t seen a murder in more than a year, other Kansas cities haven’t been as fortunate.

While Topeka saw a drop from five to three murders in the first six months of 2009 compared with 2008, both Wichita and Kansas City saw increases. Murders in Wichita increased from eight to 12, and in Kansas City from 13 to 22 for the same period.

Comments

jafs 4 years, 3 months ago

mr right wing,

Are you then committed to helping the children once they are born?

Many "pro-life" conservatives seem to care greatly about unborn children, and then once they're born, they forget all about them (oppose social programs, etc.)

And, what about helping the women who are pregnant if they can't afford to bear/raise the child?

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rbwaa 4 years, 3 months ago

thank you, Shaun, i appreciate your response.

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shaunepec 4 years, 3 months ago

rbwaa, What counts as a murder under their classification system isn't as clean as one would think. I can't tell you exactly why McGee's was a murder, but I think it has something to do with the alcohol. As I understand it, Leek's case was believed to involve alcohol on the driver, but that's not something they know for sure and won't be charging him with, while McGee's case they were able to prove alcohol, bumping it into the voluntary manslaughter area. What was classified as a murder was supplied by the KBI, who tally the numbers on the state level. It took us a lot of time to figure what was and wasn't classified as a murder.

Shaun Hittle LJW Reporter

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porch_person 4 years, 3 months ago

mr_right_wing,

Tiller's murder counts in Wichita's stats, not ours.

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mr_right_wing 4 years, 3 months ago

"Mr_right_wing, It is a free Country! If you don't like it, leave it!!"

Thank you for helping to make my point. A free country that mindlessly murders innocent, defenseless babies without any remorse? An incredible shame on our society. I'll stay and try and stand up for the innocent, stand up for change. I'll stay and change it for the other victims as well....abortions destroy part of your own soul and humanity as well.

We have more regard for 'animals rights' than we do unborn humans.

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macon47 4 years, 3 months ago

life is pretty cheap in douglas county you can kill someone and spend less time in jail, than if you beat them badly plus it appears it is a big plus if you are drunk, you get even less time what is wrong with our system?

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rbwaa 4 years, 3 months ago

happy_go_lucky (Anonymous) says…

rbwaa, reading could help you out.

As Shaun said, murder is 1st and 2nd degree murder and voluntary manslaughter.

Involuntary manslaughter is not a classifed murder conviction.

actually i did read it which is why i asked the question about why it was counted as murder in the other article listing the murder victims of the past 10 years. my comment should have referenced that article rather than just including the quote.

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Amy Heeter 4 years, 3 months ago

Also the picture with the caption was not Jerry Deshazer's house.

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Amy Heeter 4 years, 3 months ago

Gage not Greg was not murdered. He was a criminal who was shot while commiting a crime. If not for his actions Roland Klundt would still be alive today.

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skinny 4 years, 3 months ago

Mr_right_wing, It is a free Country! If you don't like it, leave it!!

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mr_right_wing 4 years, 3 months ago

Of course if we included the infanticide of our local Planned Parenthood the number would at least DOUBLE.

If you have a teenage daughter, she could have been one of them, since kids can kill their own kids without the parents knowing.

That is to our shame as a society...yes you and I. There is absolutely, positively no valid excuse for it.

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jafs 4 years, 3 months ago

Then the low murder rate is misleading.

How many cases of involuntary manslaughter have we had in the past year?

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happy_go_lucky 4 years, 3 months ago

rbwaa, reading could help you out.

As Shaun said, murder is 1st and 2nd degree murder AND VOLUNTARY manslaughter.

Involuntary manslaughter is not a classifed murder conviction.

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rbwaa 4 years, 3 months ago

shaunepec (Shaun Hittle) says…

julz, The Lawrence Police are not considering/classifying that case as a murder. What counts as murder is first and second degree murder and voluntary manslaughter, and hers did not fit in any of those categories.

Shaun Hittle LJW Reporter

then why was this counted as murder?

• February 2001: Shyra McGee, 23, was killed when a drunken driver, Brandon Gentry, ran a red light and struck her automobile near Sixth Street and Monterey Way. Gentry, 30, was sentenced to 71 months in prison after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter. He was released from prison on Jan. 3, 2008.

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shaunepec 4 years, 3 months ago

julz, The Lawrence Police are not considering/classifying that case as a murder. What counts as murder is first and second degree murder and voluntary manslaughter, and hers did not fit in any of those categories.

Shaun Hittle LJW Reporter

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smitty 4 years, 3 months ago

Just to put the stats in perspective, how many gun incidents this past year?

With all the gun shots reported this past year, it is a miracle there hasn't been any more murders. Statistics can be very misleading and even slanted. It is not time to brag yet. Go a year without gun fights first, mayor, then report back.

Wooo, no quote from OLIN, either. LPD police chief missing in action but still on the payroll....

“Any year you go without such a crime is a great thing,” said Lawrence Mayor Rob Chestnut. “We want that trend to continue.”

Still a personnel issue with discussing Olin's problems? Gag order still in place? But is it a gag order from the city or from a higher authority?

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julz 4 years, 3 months ago

Wo the girl who was hit and killed while riding her bicycle was not murdered?

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