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Archive for Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Hearing in Ottawa quadruple homicide case reopened to public, moved to next month

February 12, 2014

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A Franklin County judge has granted a request from state prosecutors to reopen an evidentiary hearing in the capital murder case of a man accused of killing four people, including an 18-month-old child, in rural Ottawa last year.

Franklin County District Court Judge Thomas H. Sachse granted the motions filed by the state in its case against 28-year-old Kyle T. Flack, and Flack’s defense attorney, Ron Evans, did not oppose them.

Last month, Sachse had set a two-hour evidentiary hearing for 3 p.m. Thursday but closed it to the public upon a request from the prosecution — which is being led by Deputy Attorney General Victor J. Braden and includes Franklin County Attorney Stephen Hunting and Deputy County Attorney James T. Ward.

Now, in an order dated Jan. 30 and recently made public in the docket for the case, Sachse granted the state’s motion to withdraw its request to close the hearing and also allowed the hearing to be rescheduled to 9 a.m. March 11. The new date will have the hearing take place just before the first day of a previously scheduled two-day preliminary hearing.

In its motion to reschedule, the state cited a witness set to testify being unavailable on Thursday. The list of possible witnesses has expanded considerably since the state filed a motion to endorse an additional 829 witnesses last month.

During Flack’s last appearance in court, on Jan. 16, Sachse granted the state’s request that the evidentiary hearing be closed to the public. Evans, who heads the Kansas Death Penalty Defense Unit in Topeka, did not object at the time but told Sachse that he envisioned the decision would attract additional media attention. To that point, Evans added that he wished to try this case in Franklin County but indicated that too much added publicity could lead him to file a motion for a change of venue.

According to court documents, the state recently moved to withdraw its request to close the hearing upon review of a Kansas Supreme Court case that cited a watershed 1984 case in Georgia setting out a four-part test to evaluate potential violations of the Sixth Amendment right to a public trial.

Flack is charged with capital murder, first-degree murder, rape and criminal possession of a firearm in the May deaths of Andrew Adam Stout, 30; Steven Eugene White, 31; Kaylie Kathleen Bailey, 21; and Bailey’s 18-month-old daughter, Lana-Leigh. On Jan. 16, prosecutors obtained from Sachse an order for two cellphone providers previously subpoenaed to fully comply with the state’s request for evidence.

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