Detectives, family testify about alleged break-in before Lawrence resident’s shooting death
At the felony murder retrial of Dustin D. Walker, Lawrence Police Detective Randy Glidewell on Tuesday testified that he found what police believe to be evidence of a break-in at the scene of Lawrence resident Patrick Roberts’ shooting death.
Walker, 31, was arrested less than an hour after the 3:10 a.m. March 8, 2014, shooting death of Roberts. Prosecutors allege Walker and co-defendant Archie Robinson forced their way into Roberts’ apartment that morning with a gun to steal cash or marijuana, and that when Roberts did not cooperate, Robinson shot him.
Walker’s attorney, Blake Glover, said during opening statements Monday that evidence to be presented this week will show Walker and Robinson did not break into the apartment, but they went to the apartment to buy marijuana from Roberts, thus nullifying the felony murder charge’s underlying felony.
What jurors don’t know is that Walker was already convicted of the felony aggravated burglary at the conclusion of his first trial in February. In hearings that took place before Walker’s retrial began this week, Douglas County District Judge Paula Martin ruled jurors would not learn about Walker’s partial conviction in the case.
Glidewell on Tuesday testified that he found some evidence that may indicate that the door had signs of “forced entry” into Roberts’ apartment. Glidewell said he found two marks on the front door. The door itself was “slightly bent inward,” Glidewell said, and the “skin” of the door was damaged. Additionally, a wireless doorbell was found on the ground that appeared to have been previously fastened to the door by Velcro.
At Walker’s and Robinson’s prior trials, Kansas Bureau of Investigations experts testified that one of the marks on the front door appeared to be a shoe print.
Roberts’ son, Michael Neis-Roberts, 18, testified Monday that Walker and co-defendant Archie Robinson knocked, banged and then forced open the door to his home. Neis-Roberts said Walker pointed a gun at him before entering Roberts’ room with Robinson, demanding something from Roberts and shooting him when he didn’t cooperate.
Neis-Roberts testified that his uncle, Wayne Roberts, then tackled Walker and struggled with him before Walker and Robinson were able to flee the home. The family called police, who responded, but Patrick Roberts was pronounced dead by the time he arrived at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.
Marilyn Howard, Roberts’ mother, also testified Tuesday. She said that she was awakened to “yelling” coming from her living room. When she went to investigate, she said she saw Wayne Roberts wrestling with a man, corroborating Neis-Roberts’ testimony. She said she then saw the intruder and another stranger flee their home.
Testimony will continue Wednesday. The trial is scheduled to last through Friday.
Robinson was found guilty of both aggravated robbery and first-degree murder in March. He was given a life sentence without the possibility of parole for 20 years for the crimes.
Walker remains in the Douglas County Jail.