Jurors view evidence of shooting victim’s alleged drug dealing in third day of felony murder retrial
The felony murder trial against a 31-year-old Lawrence man continued Wednesday as jurors were shown evidence of the victim’s alleged marijuana dealing.
Prosecutors allege that around 3 a.m. on March 8, 2014, Dustin D. Walker and co-defendant Archie Robinson forced their way into Lawrence resident Patrick Roberts’ apartment with a gun to steal cash or marijuana, and that when Roberts did not cooperate, Walker shot him.
Walker’s attorney, Blake Glover, however, argues that evidence shows Walker and Robinson did not break into the apartment but went there to buy marijuana from Roberts, thus nullifying the felony murder charge’s underlying felony of aggravated burglary.
On Wednesday, Lawrence Police Detective Zachariah Thomas showed jurors photographs of Roberts’ apartment after the shooting took place. The apartment appeared cluttered with half-eaten plates of food and trash strewn about.
Inside Roberts’ room on his floor and in a chair lay buds of marijuana alongside plastic sandwich bags. A safe inside the room held two glass jars — one large and one small — full of marijuana, which Thomas described as “more than a personal amount.” Thomas said some of Roberts’ blood was inside the large jar.
Someone had spread an olive green towel over the safe, apparently before police arrived at the scene. When police arrived around 3:10 a.m., Walker and Robinson had already fled the scene and witnesses — Roberts’ son, mother and brother — were taken away for interviews. The three did not give police permission to search the home after Roberts was killed, but officers eventually obtained a search warrant and were able to enter the apartment.
Walker was already convicted of the felony aggravated burglary at the conclusion of his first trial in February, but jurors in that trial could not agree on a verdict for the felony murder charge. In hearings that took place before Walker’s retrial began this week, Douglas County District Judge Paula Martin ruled the jurors in the retrial would not learn about Walker’s partial conviction in the case.
Testimony will continue Thursday. 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.
Walker remains in the Douglas County Jail.