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.

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.

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.

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.

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.