Topeka A man convicted of murder in the 2005 shooting death of a retired jeweler near Lecompton appealed to the Kansas Supreme Court on Wednesday, arguing that statements made by a Douglas County prosecutor improperly prejudiced the jury.
Attorney Adam Hall of Lawrence, who was representing Allen Dale Smith who was sentenced to life in prison for the slaying of Clarence David Boose, 77, said the prosecutor in closing arguments during the 2008 trial called Smith a snitch and a liar.
The prosecutor, who was identified as Douglas County Assistant District Attorney Amy McGowan, also told the jury that "the truth" would give the victim a verdict against the defendant. Such comments, Hall said, were highly prejudicial.
Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson conceded to the court that a comment to the jury to search for the truth instead of focusing solely on the evidence "is now frowned upon by the court." But, he said, that has become clear in court decisions made after Smith's trial.
Branson said that referring to Smith as a liar and snitch was not an insult, but simply repeated what Smith's defense attorney had said in court about the defendant.
"The evidence is very strong in this case," Branson said.
Boose's son, Mark Boose, who attended the arguments before the Kansas Supreme Court, later said he felt the conviction and sentencing of Smith were just. "I do feel like justice was served," Mark Boose said.
Clarence David Boose was shot in the head when he surprised burglars at his home.
Smith and his cousin Leonard Wayne Price were on a crime spree, burglarizing homes in northeast Kansas and using the money to buy methamphetamine, according to a statement Smith gave police.
Smith, now 41, was sentenced to life in prison for murder and 11 years and four months for aggravated burglary. Price, now 51, pleaded guilty to felony murder but said he did not shoot Boose. He was sentenced to life in prison. Smith and Price also were convicted and sentenced in a Pottawatomie County shooting and burglary.
Clarence David Boose and his wife had founded David’s Jewelers, which continues to operate, on Kansas Avenue in Topeka.