A 20-year-old Topeka man has now been charged with the murders of all three people who died earlier this month in a quintuple shooting in downtown Lawrence.
Formal charges against Anthony L. Roberts Jr. — filed Friday, Oct. 13, in Douglas County District Court and obtained Thursday by the Journal-World, following his capture — appear to reflect that the young Shawnee woman who died in the gunfire was, in fact, a bystander.
Roberts is charged with one count of first-degree murder for killing 22-year-old Leah Brown, according to the charges. Charges allege he killed Brown during the “commission of, attempt to commit, or flight from” a dangerous felony: second-degree murder.
In the same complaint, Roberts also is charged with two counts of second-degree murder — one count each for killing Colwin Lynn Henderson, 20, and Tre’Mel Dupree Dean-Rayton, 24, both of Topeka.
In a fourth count, Roberts is charged with attempted second-degree murder for allegedly shooting Tahzay Rayton, 19, of Topeka, “twice.”
The deadly incident started with a physical altercation about 1:40 a.m. near the corner of 11th and Massachusetts streets, and escalated into a flurry of gunfire.
Police have said little else about the circumstances, other than that a crowd of up to 100 people was in the area and that they believe some people were targeted and innocent bystanders were "affected."
In addition to the three people who died, two other men — Rayton and Royelle Hunt, 28, also of Topeka — received nonlife-threatening gunshot wounds.
U.S. Marshals took Roberts into custody Wednesday in Kansas City, Mo., where he remained jailed Thursday afternoon.
Roberts should soon be on his way to Lawrence, though.
He appeared before a Jackson County, Mo., judge Thursday morning and waived his right to extradition, according to Valerie Hartman, public information officer for Jackson County Circuit Court.
In doing so, Roberts freely agreed to return to Kansas to face the murder charges in Douglas County, according to his signed waiver of extradition.
Kansas statutes define first-degree murder as the killing of a human being committed “intentionally, and with premeditation” or — in the case of Roberts' charge — “in the commission of, attempt to commit, or flight from any inherently dangerous felony.”
Second-degree murder is defined as killing someone “intentionally," under the section Roberts is charged with.
The Douglas County DA’s office declined on Thursday to elaborate further on the choice of charges against Roberts.
Lawrence police also declined to elaborate. Officer Drew Fennelly said only, “We believe that they have been accurately charged.”
That’s in reference to Roberts and two other suspects arrested Monday in Topeka.
According to their charges, also filed Friday, Oct. 13, and made public after their arrests:
• Ahmad Rayton, 22, of Topeka, is charged with one count of attempted second-degree murder for allegedly shooting Hunt in the leg. He’s also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, following a conviction of aggravated assault. Both charges are felonies.
• Dominique J. McMillon, 19, is charged with one count of aggravated assault, a felony, for threatening a person named Robert Wheeler with a gun, and one count of battery, a misdemeanor, for causing physical contact with Wheeler in a “rude, insulting or angry manner.”
Rayton and McMillon were jailed in Douglas County, Rayton on $1 million bond and McMillon on $25,000.
Even with Roberts and two other co-defendants now in custody, Lawrence police say their case still is not closed.
As police have since early in their investigation, Fennelly on Thursday declined to answer whether there are more suspects not yet arrested. He said it would be premature to make a definitive statement on suspects.
“We’re going to go where the investigation leads us,” Fennelly said. “The investigation is still ongoing. We’re still actively following every lead that we get.”
Fennelly said the department is still taking tips and wants to hear from anyone who was in the area.
“We have not identified everyone that was out there,” Fennelly said. “We do want to identify as many people as possible who were at the scene when it occurred.”
Anyone with information about the incident can call Lawrence police at 832-7509 or, to remain anonymous, Crime Stoppers of Lawrence and Douglas County at 843-TIPS (8477).