Archive for Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Girlfriend charged in McCollum gun hoax

July 14, 2010

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Douglas County prosecutors have charged a 20-year-old woman with falsely reporting a crime in connection with an April incident that led to chaos at Kansas University’s largest residence hall.

Kori B. Williams, of St. Louis, pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charge Tuesday in Douglas County District Court.

Samuel L. Moore, 21, of Kansas City, Kan., has already pleaded guilty to obstruction in the case and received one year of probation for lying to KU Public Safety officers. On April 30, police were investigating a reported domestic incident at McCollum Hall after a resident next door heard a male voice say, “Where’s my gun?”

During Moore’s case, prosecutors say Williams, a McCollum Hall resident at the time, and Moore were the ones who were arguing. Authorities accuse the two of making up a story about another man who attacked her.

It was aimed at keeping Moore, who was banned from the dorm, out of trouble, but it set off a lockdown of the dorm and a large manhunt. Moore later turned himself in to police.

Williams turned herself in earlier this month after prosecutors issued a warrant for her arrest in May. She is free on $500 bond.

KU officials in April said she would face student housing and nonacademic disciplinary hearings. Her next court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 2.

Comments

leeroy_johnson 4 years, 10 months ago

Pleaded not guilty? Not sure where this is going. Wish people these days would stand up for their actions.

lionheart72661 4 years, 10 months ago

I agree Leeroy, she knows she did it now why waste taxpayers money and just deal with the consequences of her actions

kusp8 4 years, 10 months ago

Hahahaha. Not guilty!? Good luck with that one.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 10 months ago

Wow, yeah. How dare she take a few days, consult with a lawyer, and make sure she understands what she's charged with? The nerve of some people.

WHY 4 years, 10 months ago

Pleading not guilty actually works pretty well because it forces a lazy DA to handle a misdemeanor and they mess them up way more often than the public probably realizes.

leeroy_johnson 4 years, 10 months ago

ebyrdstarr: Yea, she should take a few days. Why do anything during May and June when a warrant was issued to contact a lawyer. That is just silly. Sit on it for a while, turn yourself in, then plead not guilty, sit on it some more, ask for an extension, sit on it again just in the hopes that they forget about it. Your logic and sarcastic remark is a direct reflection of my lack of nerve for people like you.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 10 months ago

What does it say about you that you'll judge someone you don't know just because she has enough respect for the legal process not to be ticked off at a person who enters a not guilty plea (as virtually every defendant) does at a first appearance?

lionheart72661 4 years, 10 months ago

Sure at arraignment the judge enters the plea (in most cases) for the defendant of not guilty to give her time to get a lawyer. The state of Kansas works on a grid system so the Judge can give the defendant any punishment within that grid. I again agree with Leeroy. Why wasn't she in contact with a lawyer while she was "on the run" with a warrant issued?

lionheart72661 4 years, 10 months ago

ebyrdstarr (anonymous) replies… What does it say about you that you'll judge someone you don't know just because she has enough respect for the legal process not to be ticked off at a person who enters a not guilty plea (as virtually every defendant) does at a first appearance? I don't quite understand what you are saying here!! Are you saying that this girl has respect for the legal process? If that's the case, she has had a warrant since may, this is July. Why didn't she turn herself in earlier?

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 10 months ago

I'm the one who has respect for the legal process and was being judged harshly for it.

Where does this article indicate the girl was aware a warrant had been issued? Most people aren't informed when a warrant is issued. She certainly wasn't "on the run" as you call it. She did, in fact, turn herself in.

lionheart72661 4 years, 10 months ago

Well I guess we are all "assuming" she didn't know! Well let me think....Hmmmm....my significant other gets arrested for doing something I'm involved in too! Nah they won't be looking for me too. I wonder if she even consulted her parents? Basically what this boils down to just like we said earlier she is guilty, no doubt about it. She can plead guilty then let the attorneys hash it out. That's what's going to happen anyway.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 10 months ago

Being generally aware that you are subject to an investigation is very different from being aware that an actual charge has been filed and an actual warrant issued. Again, most people are not aware when actual warrant is issued. I would guess that she had consulted a lawyer as a lawyer is usually involved when a defendant turns herself in on a warrant. There's certainly no indication that police ever tried to act on the arrest warrant and she "ran" as you suggested earlier. But consulting with a lawyer before you're charged doesn't change the fact that you still need to talk to the lawyer after you actually see the charge.

The first appearance is such a non-event in the course of a criminal case. It's usually the most routine of all the proceedings. People show up, waive official reading of the charges, enter a standard not guilty plea, and schedule with the court and prosecutor where the case will go from there. Even people who fully intended to plead guilty eventually enter those standard not guilty please at the first appearance. Heck, there are a lot of judges who would probably be annoyed if a defendant tried to plead guilty at a first appearance because it's so outside the norm of how those hearings go. So what, exactly, is it that is so outrageous about this girl treating this routine hearing exactly the way everyone in the system expected her to?

And, hey, way to respect the presumption of innocence.

BlackVelvet 4 years, 10 months ago

Well, since her part of this soap opera is much smaller than her boyfriend's was, and since he, in spite of a prior criminal record, was granted probation (again), what exactly is the point in charging this girl??? It's not like anything's going to happen to her if she IS convicted.

BlackVelvet 4 years, 10 months ago

and they get probation....and they get probation....and they get probation.....at least in THIS county.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 10 months ago

Are we not her community? I just urge people to be more rigorous about respecting the presumption of innocence because juries are drawn from people like us, people who read the newspaper and form opinions. I think it becomes dangerous when we allow ourselves too much free reign to disregard the presumption of innocence as long as we're not in a court because it just becomes easier for that lack of presumption to creep its way into the jury box.

No, no one's trampled her rights, but boy, folks are sure ready to label her guilty before she's had her day in court. That doesn't sit well with me.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 10 months ago

I'm just on a personal mission to encourage people to be less gossipy and more inclined to withhold judgment until they really hear the whole story. It's a lofty goal, I know, but I think it's worth it. And my experience with juries leads me to suspect you overestimate people's ability to put aside prior discussions of crimes when they do get into the jury room.

I'm not getting worked up at all. I was rather wondering why so many others were getting "worked up" about a defendant entering a very routine not guilty plea at a very routine hearing. It hardly seemed remarkable, yet several comments were harsh on the girl for following the script for a first appearance.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 10 months ago

Thanks for the lecture on human behavior, Professor.

People weren't speculating; they were judging. And over something someone really shouldn't be judged negatively for.

And jurors think they make an effort, but they just can't do what they claim to be able to do. Now it's my turn to explain human behavior to you. Haven't you heard of confirmation bias? No matter how well-intentioned they may be, people with preconceived opinions are going to be more inclined to allow confirmation bias to color their perception of the evidence. And I can't tell you how many jurors I have heard from after the fact who clearly violated the court's instructions in reaching their verdict.

bearded_gnome 4 years, 10 months ago

I would have hoped for more significant charges and more significant potential punishments being meted out given the scale of trouble that this aused her fellow dorm residents, KU, and our community.

and in the past Ebyrdstarr has been a quite accurate and reliable legal resource on these comment threads.
unfortunately for the presumption of innocence, a lot of detailsof this set of crimes is public info, or at least there's published material about them.


I did wonder if she's pleading "not guilty by reason of inskankity?" sorry, couldn't resist.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 10 months ago

"unfortunately for the presumption of innocence, a lot of details of this set of crimes is public info, or at least there's published material about them. "

The problem is that the published material about cases usually is a bad basis for really judging the case. People think because they've read lots of news stories about the situation, they know the facts and can judge guilt or innocence. But what comes out in the paper is usually quite skewed, incomplete, and sometimes downright wrong.

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