Lawrence crime, fire, courts coverage
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One of three men charged in what police say was a botched home invasion in December testified today that he and two co-defendants were trying to rob a Lawrence drug dealer when he was accidentally shot.
Connor McKenzie Mayhan, 21, of Olathe, testified in Douglas County District Court in a preliminary hearing held to determine if all three of the defendants would face trial on robbery and burglary charges. Douglas County District Judge Peggy Kittel ruled that they would, and allowed the three to remain free on bond.
Mayhan has been charged, along with Alexander Christopher Eftekhar, 22, of Lawrence, and Andrew Michael Johns, 21, of Johnson County, with attempted aggravated robbery and attempted aggravated burglary. Mayhan and Eftekhar have also been charged with falsely reporting a crime.
The three were arrested after a Dec. 13 incident at a house in the 1200 block of New Jersey Street, when a resident reported that armed intruders had attempted to break into the home. Mayhan, testifying today as part of a plea agreement with Douglas County prosecutors, said the robbery plan was presented to him by Eftekhar, who also included Johns as a getaway driver.
Eftekhar believed a man living at the house on New Jersey Street would have up to $30,000 in cash on hand from selling marijuana, and wanted to break into the house and rob the man at gunpoint, Mayhan said. He said the two went to a Lawrence pawnshop to trade Eftekhar's gun in for a more intimidating firearm, a .22-caliber rifle built to resemble a submachine gun.
After smoking marijuana throughout the day, Mayhan said, he learned that Johns was also included in the plan, and the three waited until nightfall before driving to the house on New Jersey Street in Johns' Prius. Mayhan and Eftekhar tried to break down the door, but failed, and Mayhan was accidentally shot in the arm.
"We were getting pretty desperate," Mayhan said of the frantic attempts to break into the house. "There was a crack, a flash, to my right, and my arm went numb. That's when we panicked and ran," he said.
Because the wound required medical attention, the three called police and reported that they had been assaulted by armed intruders at the home of Mayhan and Eftekhar, in the 800 block of Mississippi Street. Later, at the hospital, a Lawrence Police Department investigator was able to trick Mayhan into admitting the false story by telling him Eftekhar had already started cooperating with police, which was not true, Mayhan said.
Mayhan said he was testifying for the prosecution as part of a plea agreement, in hopes of being sentenced to probation rather than facing prison time. All three of the defendants are scheduled to next appear in court in September.