Lawrence man won’t be charged in fatal shooting that took place on porch; DA cites ‘stand your ground’ law

photo by: Journal-World File Photo

In this photo from April 4, 2018, yellow tape surrounds a house at 1129 Connecticut St., where Lawrence police were investigating a fatal shooting that took place on the house's porch.

Story updated 8:08 p.m. August 3, 2018:

Citing Kansas’ “stand your ground” law, Douglas County’s top prosecutor announced Friday that he won’t file charges against a Lawrence man who fatally shot an intruder on his front porch in April.

The shooter told investigators that while being physically attacked by the stranger — who was more than twice his size — he feared for his own life, as well as the life of the other person in his house, District Attorney Charles Branson said, in a news release.

“Kansas statutes establish that a person who is justified in using deadly force (is) immune from criminal prosecution unless there is probable cause to believe the use of force is unjustified,” Branson said. “The facts of the investigation reveal no such probable cause. As such, no criminal charges can be filed in this case.”

Branson identified the shooter as 44-year-old Robert Patrick.

The shooting happened just after 1:30 a.m. April 4 at 1129 Connecticut St., a rental house where Patrick lived at the time.

Killed was 32-year-old Trevor Mohawk of Lawrence, who lived just a block and a half south, at 1300 Connecticut St.

Trevor J. Mohawk

Branson released this description of the fatal incident:

About 1:30 a.m., the residents heard banging on the front door of their house, and Patrick looked out the peephole to see “a male figure striking and kicking at the front door.”

Patrick dressed, armed himself with a handgun, went out the back door of his house and walked around outside to the front. As he made his way around the house, the woman inside called 911 to report the disturbance and unknown person on her front porch.

On the front porch, Patrick told Mohawk to leave.

“According to an interview with Patrick, Mohawk started to leave then turned and advanced on Patrick, and a struggle ensued on the porch,” Branson said. “Patrick suffered black eyes and multiple bruises and abrasions to his upper body.”

During the struggle, Patrick shot Mohawk five times in the torso.

Toxicology testing of Mohawk revealed “heavy alcohol intoxication and evidence of marijuana exposure.”

Branson said that Mohawk was 6 feet, 5.5 inches tall and weighed 371 pounds at the time of the shooting. He said Patrick was 5-foot-7 and 170 pounds.

Patrick told investigators that during the struggle, Mohawk pushed his thumbs in his eyes and that he thought that if Mohawk killed him he would then possibly kill the other occupant of the house, Branson said.

Branson said that the “stand your ground” legislation adopted by Kansas lawmakers in 2010 provides, in part that, a person is justified in using deadly force if they reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to themselves or a third person.

Mohawk and Patrick did not know each other and had not encountered each other before.

Mohawk was kitchen manager at Jefferson’s Restaurant, 743 Massachusetts St., where he had worked about six or seven years. Originally from Wisconsin, Mohawk came to Lawrence to attend Haskell Indian Nations University, and stayed.

Several friends of Mohawk told the Journal-World after his death that he frequently went out downtown, but they did not know what he was doing that night, which was his night off. They said Mowhawk might have been walking home from Massachusetts Street but that they didn’t know why he would have gone up to the house at 1129 Connecticut St.


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