Topeka The Kansas Supreme Court on Friday upheld the first-degree, premeditated murder conviction of Lafayette Damon Ester Cosby in the 2004 murder of Robert Martin in a Lawrence apartment.
Martin was shot three times in the chest during a party at The Reserve, then called Jefferson Commons, 2511 W. 31st St.
Cosby alleged several problems at the trial before Douglas County District Court Judge Jack Murphy.
Cosby wanted a question he asked a police detective — “Did you find the gun on him?” — entered into the trial. But Murphy refused to allow the detective’s testimony about this question from Cosby.
The question was significant because Cosby wanted to imply that he thought Martin was armed and the police investigation ineffective.
Writing for the majority, Kansas Supreme Court Justice Carol Beier said the question was inadmissible hearsay and noted that Cosby was not testifying and therefore not available for cross-examination.
But Justices Lee Johnson and Marla Luckert said the question should have been allowed and that they would have granted Cosby a new trial.
Cosby also argued that Murphy should have instructed the jury on the type of involuntary manslaughter known as imperfect defense of another.
This is defined as killing a person “upon an unreasonable but honest belief that circumstances existed that justified deadly force.”
But Beier said there was no evidence presented that Cosby could have believed that Martin was being threatening.
Cosby also argued there was insufficient evidence to convict him of premeditated murder. Again, the court rejected his arguments.