Archive for Friday, August 9, 2013

Kansas Supreme Court affirms conviction in 2008 beating death in Lawrence

August 9, 2013


— The Kansas Supreme Court today affirmed the conviction of a woman in a beating death.

In 2008, Shanna Friday was sentenced to 14 and a half years in prison for the slaying of Jerry Deshazer, 62, who bled to death from a head wound he suffered during a dispute after a night of drinking at his southeastern Lawrence mobile home.

During the trial, Douglas County Assistant District Attorney Amy McGowan had urged the jury to find Friday guilty and give Deshazer back his dignity.

On appeal, Friday's attorney said this comment strayed from the evidence in the case and was meant to inflame the passions of the jury.

In a unanimous opinion, the Supreme Court said the comment constituted prosecutorial misconduct, but that it was a "harmless error."

The court said the comments were neither gross nor flagrant nor motivated by ill will and that they were made, in part, to try to counter the defense counsel's attack on Deshazer's reputation.

The court also rejected several other of Friday's arguments for appeal.

During her trial, Friday said she was not responsible for Deshazer's death.

A co-defendant, Jerod Buffalohead, had testified during Friday's trial that he saw Friday striking Deshazer with a glass bottle in the face and head during a drunken argument. Buffalohead pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to five years in prison.


Jonathan Becker 4 years, 10 months ago

Does anyone find the concept of "harmless constitutional error" to be an oxymoron? Does McGowan put this one on her CV?

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