Still no jury after 3 days of jury selection for downtown Lawrence triple murder trial

photo by: Nick Krug

From left, defendants Anthony L. Roberts Jr., Ahmad M. Rayton and Dominique J. McMillon sit during a joint preliminary hearing, Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, for charges related to a October 2017 triple homicide on Massachusetts Street.

After a third full day of jury selection, no jury had been chosen to hear the downtown Lawrence triple murder trial.

Attorneys were still questioning potential jurors, an unusually slow process due to the unprecedented number of potential jurors rounded up for the high-profile case. Everyone left with plans to continue the process Thursday morning.

On Monday morning, roughly 170 potential jurors were summoned to appear before Douglas County District Court Judge Sally Pokorny. After a number of them were released for hardship and other reasons, another 26 new potential jurors were brought in to join the group on Wednesday, said Douglas Hamilton, clerk of the district court.

At a pretrial hearing late last week, attorneys estimated jury selection would take at least two and a half days, though the process has now taken longer than that. The entire trial was initially scheduled to last two weeks.

About 1:40 a.m. Oct. 1, 2017, a fistfight followed by close to 20 gunshots broke out on the corner of 11th and Massachusetts streets. Five people were shot, and three of them died.

Except for 22-year-old Leah Brown of Shawnee, who’d just left a nearby bar when she was hit, everyone else was connected in some way. Prosecutors contend that the fight and shooting involved groups of Topeka men with prior bad blood.

Anthony L. Roberts Jr., 21, is charged with all three alleged murders and one count of attempted murder.

Ahmad M. Rayton, 23, faces two counts of attempted murder for allegedly firing at one man and shooting another, plus one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Dominique J. McMillon, 20, is charged with one count of aggravated assault for allegedly threatening someone with a gun, plus misdemeanor battery for hitting the same man during a fistfight that preceded the gunfire.

In addition to Brown, those killed were 20-year-old Colwin Lynn Henderson, of Topeka; and 24-year-old Tre’Mel Dupree Dean-Rayton, of Topeka. The two men who were shot but survived also were from Topeka.

Coverage: Downtown Lawrence triple murder case and trial

• Nov. 7, 2018 — Still no jury after 3 days of jury selection for downtown Lawrence triple murder trial

• Nov. 6, 2018 — Jury selection spills into third day for Massachusetts Street triple murder trial; media coverage of high-profile case factors into questioning

• Nov. 5 — About 170 potential jurors fill courthouse to begin selection process for downtown Lawrence triple murder trial

• Nov. 1 — Murder defendant’s attorney, DAs clash in ‘cringeworthy’ final hearing before Mass. Street trial

• Oct. 31 — In last-minute filing, Mass. Street triple murder defendant wants DA disqualified from upcoming trial

• Oct. 19 — Lawyer says Massachusetts Street triple murder defendant plans to argue self-defense, slain men shouldn’t be called victims

• Aug. 3 — ‘Significant’ new evidence in downtown Lawrence triple murder case; trial delayed until November

• April 27 — Jury trial set for September in downtown Lawrence triple murder case

• March 27 — Defendants in downtown Lawrence murder case will face jury together; trial delayed until later this year

• Feb. 9 — Judge orders trial, upgrades some charges in downtown Lawrence triple murder case

• Feb. 8 — Footage played at preliminary hearing shows triple homicide unfold on Massachusetts Street

• Jan. 19 — Officers testify about chaos, life-saving measures in aftermath of downtown Lawrence shooting

• Jan. 11 — Court testimony: Topeka feud led to ‘mayhem’ that left 3 dead on Massachusetts Street

• Jan. 10, 2018 — Hearing expected to reveal details of triple homicide on Massachusetts Street

• Dec. 4 — Preliminary hearing for downtown Lawrence triple murder case pushed back a month

• Nov. 8 — Joint preliminary hearing set for 3 defendants in Massachusetts Street triple murder case

• Nov. 1 — Triple murder defendant still has no attorney; his and companion cases progressing together

• Oct. 31 — Judge seals affidavits in Mass. Street murder case, citing ongoing investigation and potential danger to witnesses

• Oct. 29 — How do Lawrence police patrol downtown? In wake of Mass Street killings, department has stepped up patrols; no permanently designated officers

• Oct. 25 — Massachusetts Street triple murder suspect appears in court alongside 2 other defendants

• Oct. 24 — Triple murder suspect arrives in Lawrence from Kansas City jail

• Oct. 19 — Charges begin to fill in details on triple homicide on Mass Street; murder suspect waives extradition

• Oct. 18 — Topeka man arrested on suspicion of killing 3 people in downtown Lawrence

• Oct. 18 — Hearings for downtown Lawrence shooting defendants pushed back a week

• Oct. 17 — After 2 arrests, Lawrence police still searching for killer or killers in downtown shooting

• Oct. 13 — No arrests in downtown triple homicide; Lawrence police say investigation is active and ‘progressing’

• Oct. 4 — Funerals set for two young Topeka men killed in downtown Lawrence shootings

• Oct. 3 — Services set for woman, 22, killed in downtown Lawrence shootings; Leah Brown described as loving, ‘vibrant’

• Oct. 2 — Police: Shooting on Massachusetts Street that killed 3 was not a random act; 1 injured survivor released from hospital; other in stable condition

• Oct. 1 — Lawrence has had 5 homicides since Sept. 1 and city leaders are searching for answers

• Oct. 1, 2017 — 5 people shot in downtown Lawrence; 3 dead

Contact Journal-World public safety reporter Sara Shepherd


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