Archive for Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Massachusetts Street triple murder suspect appears in court alongside 2 other defendants

Defendant Anthony L. Roberts Jr. is called to appear before Douglas County District Court Judge Sally Pokorny on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017 in the Division Six courtroom. Roberts, who is accused of murdering three people in downtown Lawrence on Oct. 1, is charged with four felony counts in the case. Two other defendants in the incident also appeared in the courtroom Wednesday — Dominique J. McMillon, seated in back, and Ahmad Rayton, seated in front.

Defendant Anthony L. Roberts Jr. is called to appear before Douglas County District Court Judge Sally Pokorny on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017 in the Division Six courtroom. Roberts, who is accused of murdering three people in downtown Lawrence on Oct. 1, is charged with four felony counts in the case. Two other defendants in the incident also appeared in the courtroom Wednesday — Dominique J. McMillon, seated in back, and Ahmad Rayton, seated in front.

October 25, 2017, 10:26 a.m. Updated October 25, 2017, 4:01 p.m.

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The man accused of murdering three people on Lawrence’s Massachusetts Street made his first appearance before a Douglas County District Court judge in the case on Wednesday.

Anthony L. Roberts Jr., 20, of Topeka, shackled and in jail clothing, held the podium and at times bowed and shook his head as Judge Sally Pokorny read aloud the four felony counts filed against him.

When asked whether he understood the charges, Roberts responded, “Yes, ma’am.”

When asked whether he intended to hire his own attorney, Roberts also said yes.

Roberts was taken into custody and jailed Oct. 18 in Kansas City, Mo., and transferred to the Douglas County jail on Tuesday. His bond is $1 million.

Defendant Anthony L. Roberts Jr. is called to appear before Douglas County District Court Judge Sally Pokorny on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017 in the Division Six courtroom. Roberts, who is accused of murdering three people in downtown Lawrence on Oct. 1, is charged with four felony counts in the case. Two other defendants in the incident also appeared in the courtroom Wednesday — Dominique J. McMillon, seated in back, and Ahmad Rayton, seated in front.

Defendant Anthony L. Roberts Jr. is called to appear before Douglas County District Court Judge Sally Pokorny on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017 in the Division Six courtroom. Roberts, who is accused of murdering three people in downtown Lawrence on Oct. 1, is charged with four felony counts in the case. Two other defendants in the incident also appeared in the courtroom Wednesday — Dominique J. McMillon, seated in back, and Ahmad Rayton, seated in front.

Two other defendants in the incident also were in the courtroom for their second appearances in the case, and stood before the judge just before Roberts.

Their cases will continue moving forward as a group for the time being.

The judge set the three men’s next hearings for the same time on Nov. 1. A preliminary hearing will be scheduled later, and prosecutor Amy McGowan said the state wants the three men to appear together for that.

• Roberts is charged with one count of first-degree murder in the killing of 22-year-old Leah Brown, of Shawnee. 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 in the deaths of 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.”

• Ahmad Rayton, 22, of Topeka, is charged with one count of attempted second-degree murder for allegedly shooting Royelle Hunt, 28, of Topeka, 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.

Defendant Ahmad Rayton, 22, of Topeka, appears before Douglas County District Court Judge Sally Pokorny on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017 in the Division Six courtroom. Rayton is charged with one count of attempted second-degree murder during an Oct. 1 shooting in downtown Lawrence that left three dead.

Defendant Ahmad Rayton, 22, of Topeka, appears before Douglas County District Court Judge Sally Pokorny on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017 in the Division Six courtroom. Rayton is charged with one count of attempted second-degree murder during an Oct. 1 shooting in downtown Lawrence that left three dead.

The attorney initially appointed to represent Rayton, Topeka-based Nicholas David, asked to withdraw from the case.

Pokorny said she granted that request — noting that David had a conflict of interest because he previously represented a witness in the case — and appointed attorney Michael Clarke instead.

Rayton is jailed on $1 million bond.

• Dominique J. McMillon, 19, is charged with one count of aggravated assault, a felony, for allegedly threatening a person named Robert Wheeler with a gun, and one count of battery, a misdemeanor, for allegedly causing physical contact with Wheeler in a “rude, insulting or angry manner.”

Defendant Dominique J. McMillon appears before Douglas County District Court Judge Sally Pokorny on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017 in the Division Six courtroom. McMillon is charged with aggravated assault and battery in connection to an Oct. 1 shooting in downtown Lawrence that left three people dead.

Defendant Dominique J. McMillon appears before Douglas County District Court Judge Sally Pokorny on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017 in the Division Six courtroom. McMillon is charged with aggravated assault and battery in connection to an Oct. 1 shooting in downtown Lawrence that left three people dead.

McMillon appeared Wednesday alongside his appointed attorney, John Clark Gilroy.

McMillon is jailed on $25,000 bond.

About 1:40 a.m. Oct. 1, a flurry of gunfire erupted after a physical altercation at 11th and Massachusetts streets. Police have said officers on foot patrol in the area heard at least 20 gunshots.

Lawrence police have declined to answer whether there are more suspects in the investigation.

However, even with Roberts, Rayton and McMillon in custody, police say their case is not yet shut and urge anyone who witnessed the events to contact police if they haven’t already.

Contact public safety reporter Sara Shepherd
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Comments

Brock Masters 1 month, 3 weeks ago

This is so racist. Why are all three suspects black? Why isn’t at least one white? Racism in school suspensions and in criminal suspects. It’s evidence of systematic racism I tell you.

Theodore Calvin 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Brock, you are better than that. You and I have discussed before (generally on threads about gun violence) that there are a multitude of reasons people commit crimes, many related to socioeconomic factors. So let's ignore those factors, and make light of people's real or perceived calls of racism by making the assertion you are making above: that racism doesn't exist and blacks are seen as criminals because they are...and this is proof.

Brock Masters 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Theodore, satire is always dangerous because it can be misunderstood. I disagree with you on much but respect you so I will respond.

I in no way think their skin color has anything to do with why they may have committed a crime. My point is there are those that use racial disparity in suspensions as evidence of racism Baloney. Racial disparity alone means nothing as evidenced by the race of these suspects.

Yes, I am mocking those that believe there is racism because test score of blacks are lower than other races and because they get suspended more.

Blame the test and racism before admitting that there are other reasons blacks are not doing as well on it as other races. And again, by no stretch of imagination do I blame skin color. Socio-economic and culture have an affect but not skin color.

But suggesting that is taboo. We must blame the test and racism for low scores and high suspensions.

Theodore Calvin 1 month, 3 weeks ago

I know he was kidding. That's the problem. It's funny to people. You don't take it seriously because you don't see it. I am fortunate to be a white male. I have never experienced systemic racism. I don't know if it happens or not? People say it does, so it must. Unless they are liars, which is pretty much what you are saying when you dismiss it with such comments. I don't have the answers. When statistics point out that blacks are incarcerated ( or suspended from school to a lesser degree) at a higher rate, do I assume it is because of a pigment in their skin, or do I come to a conclusion there is a deeper issue that needs to be addressed? An issue that people are screaming to be addressed within certain communities.

Brock Masters 1 month, 3 weeks ago

The schools have rules so do you really think the Lawrence schools are disregarding them and suspending blacks because they are black?

I don’t, but if it does happen we must take swift punitive action against those that did it.

Show me evidence of the systematic racism and I will join in the fight against it. Just don’t blame me because of my skin color or suggest that I am privileged because of it. I’m privileged because of my grandparents and parents sacrificing for me.

People aren’t screaming to ask how can we stop children from being suspended they are screaming racism. Big difference. One I support. The other I mock.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 month, 3 weeks ago

The studies show that Black students get suspended more often than Whites for the same incidents. In my personal experience, I worked at Dillons when I was getting my education degree. One night some white KU students tried to steal some beer after hours. They were taken into the office and chewed out, then let go. A couple of weeks later some Haskell students did the same thing. The police were called and they were charged, and with Haskell's policy back then, probably thrown out of school. That is racism. It stills happens, whether or not you experience it.

But try listening to other people's experiences. Have you ever sat down with a person of color and asked if they have experienced racism? Try it. A lot of Black men get pulled over for not using the turn signal when changing lanes. But no one I know, who is white, has ever been pulled over for that. I worked with a Black Baker student once, who asked me if Ottawa was racist (I grew up there). My coworker was moving into a house he had just rented, and the police stopped him and made him prove that he was renting the house. And he was putting furniture into the house, not taking it out. Has that ever happened to you?

And if they did pull everyone, regardless of skin color, over for not using their turn signal, they would have to double the police force, and not just in this town. There seems to be a lot of people of all colors out there who can't find the strength to use that turn signal lever. But that's another issue.

Brock Masters 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Source one of these studies.

I have been stopped by the police and questioned for no apparent reason in the past. They even searched my car with no probable cause or my permission.

I was man handled by an undercover cop before. I responded politely to his abuse and he stopped.

As I said, if the school is doing this then swift disciplinary action should be taken. Do you have any evidence that those suspended should not have been suspended?

Bob Smith 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Equal opportunity does not mean that all outcomes will be equal.

Theodore Calvin 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Brock, sorry I wasn't clear. I don't think the school is suspending people because of their race. I am not saying above that the community is "screaming" about this specifically, but about the larger conversation of racism as you pointed out. I think this is just one of the fights that this community is fighting because they see this as a symptom of the larger problem. Its a cart/horse issue, but the outcome is essentially the same: perceived or real racism and inequality. We can discuss semantics and tiptoe around the issue all we want, but if we are trying to change the way certain people are treated, or perceive they are treated, then shouldn't we listen? I think you'd appreciate the sentiment if you felt you weren't given a fair shake.

Brock Masters 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Theodore, it does matter if the racism is real or perceived. If real then it My be criminal. If perceived it is important to the person but no crime committed.

I agree if people have grievances we should listen to them, but they shut down discussion when they say I have a problem and it is your fault simply because of your skin color. Right, like lumping me in with the KKK and new-nazis is the best way to start a conversation.

I also agree that we have great inequalities in this country and it is in our best interest to minimize those inequalities. Our justice system doesn’t afford the same level of justice to the poor as it does the rich. Poor neighborhood schools lack adequate resources and teachers. Many children are born into families that suffer from not just being poor but caught in generational poverty essentially condemning them to a dire and bleak life.

We need to recognize these inequalities without blaming those that do have privilege ( I am privileged) and keeping race out of it. Let’s fix the inequalities for all races.

Together we can build a better America for all, with true liberty and justice for all, but when we divide along racial lines we work against one another.

Gary Stussie 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Brock says ..."there are a multitude of reasons people commit crimes," ...Be interesting to see if these young men came from two parent households?

Brookings Institute has an interesting study on out of wedlock births.

"Since 1970, out-of-wedlock birth rates have soared. In 1965, 24 percent of black infants and 3.1 percent of white infants were born to single mothers. By 1990 the rates had risen to 64 percent for black infants, 18 percent for whites. Every year about one million more children are born into fatherless families. If we have learned any policy lesson well over the past 25 years, it is that for children living in single-parent homes, the odds of living in poverty are great. The policy implications of the increase in out-of-wedlock births are staggering".

Why so many single mothers?

Conservatives attributes the increase to overly generous federal welfare benefits.

Liberals have tended to favor the explanation that a decline in the marriageability of black men due to a shortage of jobs for less educated men.

Brookings study says both factors have less impact them we would like to think. So why?

"Increase in the availability of both abortion and contraception (they call it a reproductive technology shock) is deeply implicated in the increase in out-of-wedlock births ... no more Shotgun Weddings!

In 1970 there were about 400,000 out-of-wedlock births out of 3.7 million total births. In 1990 there were 1.2 million out-of-wedlock births out of 4 million total.

In the "old days" (60s and 70s) "the only circumstance that would cause women to engage in sexual activity was a promise of marriage in the event of pregnancy. Men were willing to make (and keep) that promise for they knew that in leaving one woman they would be unlikely to find another who would not make the same demand. Even women who would be willing to bear children out-of-wedlock could demand a promise of marriage in the event of pregnancy."

Interesting study ... https://www.brookings.edu/research/an-analysis-of-out-of-wedlock-births-in-the-united-states/

I guess that old adage still applies ... "Why by the cow, when you can get the milk for free".

Clark Coan 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Homicide is associated with poverty and lack of employment opportunities. Also, there is an honor code in the Black underclass youth subculture. If someone disrepects you, you have to get revenge to protect your honor. This was the way it was among the Scots Irish in Appalachia.

Brock Masters 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Despite the fear of being called a congenital liberal :) I can’t help but feel sorry for these young men. Yes, they own their actions and if convicted I hope they are put away for a long time. Still, it makes me sad that they threw away their lives and caused pain for others.

Brock Masters 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Understood. My white privilege is at fault.

Louis Kannen 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Society's 'chickens' are now coming home to 'roost'...

Clara Westphal 1 month, 2 weeks ago

There are many opportunities for young black people and many make good use of those opportunities. Others get caught up in the black culture and waste their lives.

I taught in a mostly black high school for five years. There was a black student who brought a knife into my classroom and had planned to stab another student because that student's mother had stabbed his mother the night before. Fortunately, when I asked him for the knife, he handed to me handle first. Another young man bragged that his dad was in prison and he wanted to be just like him.

On the other side, there was a young black woman student who went on to develop her talents and is now singing at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Much of this comes from the home.

Jillian Andrews 1 month, 2 weeks ago

"Black culture" means shooting people? Wow.

Pretty sure lots of other colors of people shoot each other as well and I don't think anyone considers it their "culture". There are at least 5 dead white people in Topeka this week by my count. All killed by white people.

Jay Keffer 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Serious question - why is a suspected murderer of 3 people not in handcuffs during a court appearance? 'Shackled' (definition partially applies) but no handcuffs?

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