A Douglas County jury Wednesday afternoon acquitted a 26-year-old Lawrence man in an attempted murder trial related to a December shooting at a Lawrence apartment complex.
Jurors found Dustin D. Walker not guilty of attempted second-degree murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm about 1:45 p.m. after they were given the case Wednesday morning. Prosecutors had accused Walker of shooting Darrick Dew, 23, of Lawrence, during a party at a crowded apartment.
Defense attorney John Kerns said after the verdict that prosecutors had little physical evidence and that there were problems with the credibility of several eyewitnesses at the party.
Kerns said eyewitness Kindra Toshavik contradicted herself several times on the stand Monday and Tuesday about seeing Walker in the area of where Dew was shot.
“It was the right verdict, and from the get-go we felt that way,” Kerns said.
Dew was injured after being shot Dec. 5 during a large party at South Pointe Apartments, 2310 W. 26th St. He had artery damage and was taken to the hospital by a relative. His family members left District Judge Paula Martin’s courtroom after the verdict was read.
“We’re disappointed in the outcome. We believe the evidence was sufficient to bring Mr. Walker to trial in this case,” Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson said. “However, we recognize that the lack of cooperation by the witnesses at the scene greatly hampered our ability to present a full case to the jury.”
Prosecutors said many witnesses were not willing to speak with investigators and that many people who were at the party said they didn’t see the incident.
Chief assistant district attorney David Melton and assistant district attorney Michael Allen prosecuted the case.
Walker remains in custody because he still faces a reckless aggravated battery trial later this year related to a 2008 shooting of another Lawrence man in the 2500 block of Redbud Lane.
According to preliminary hearing testimony in that case, Walker told police he was acting in self defense.