A Douglas County judge Wednesday ordered a 27-year-old Lawrence man to face a trial on two attempted murder charges related to an April 1 shooting in northern Lawrence.
Prosecutors accuse William J. Verner of shooting Chebon Chibitty, 22, in the leg and missing when he tried to shoot at another man, Ryan Harjo, after an altercation with the two men early in the morning outside an apartment in the 1300 block of Michigan Way.
Harjo had testified last week he had chased Verner away from the area with an ax before the shooting. He said he was upset because he accused Verner of stealing $50 from his wife weeks earlier.
Prosecutors allege Verner drove by later about 3:30 a.m. and fired into a crowd missing Harjo and hitting Chibitty, a cousin of Harjo’s wife, in the leg. Harjo testified he provided prosecutors weeks later with a pair of jeans he said had bullet holes in them.
Defense attorney J.C. Gilroy argued Harjo’s jeans were not reliable evidence because attorneys had no way of knowing where the jeans had been for almost two months. He also said the evidence supported aggravated battery and not attempted murder charges.
Verner initially faced only one attempted second-degree murder charge for Chibitty’s injury, but Malone agreed with prosecutors to add a second attempted second-degree murder charge for allegedly firing at Harjo. Verner in addition faces a felon in possession of a firearm charge for a past conviction in Oklahoma.
Verner’s girlfriend also testified last week he told her that he shot a man who was swinging an ax at him. The trial is scheduled for Aug. 27.