WRITER: Dylan Lysen

Lawrence man accused of rape convicted of lesser charge; plea deal entered on day trial was set to begin

On the day he was scheduled to stand trial for rape, a former University of Kansas student accepted a plea deal on a lesser charge. Nicholas J. Lewis, 26, of Lawrence, was convicted after pleading no contest to one count of "sexually motivated" aggravated battery, a level-five felony, a court assistant told the Journal-World on Monday. The conviction of a level-five felony comes with a minimum sentence of 31 ...

Kansas City man indicted in Lawrence bank robbery case

A Kansas City, Kan., man has been indicted in federal court for allegedly robbing a Lawrence bank last month. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Kansas announced Monday that a federal grand jury indicted Davonte Chaney, 29, with one count of bank robbery and one count of use of a firearm in the furtherance of a crime of violence. According to court documents, in September Chaney allegedly used a ...

Lawrence school board to consider ratifying contract with classified staff labor union

The Lawrence school district may soon have an official contract with a labor union representing the district's classified staff. The proposed contract would provide a slight increase in pay for staff members. The school board on Monday will consider ratifying the district's first contract with PAL-CWA, a union that represents paraeducators, custodians, office staff and other employees. The ratification is ...

KU police identify suspects sought in vandalism of 'Native Hosts' artwork on campus

The University of Kansas police have identified the two suspects sought in the vandalism of a Native American art exhibit at the Spencer Museum of Art. Deputy Chief James Druen said in an email to the Journal-World that the two men were identified by an anonymous tip. He did not provide the names of the suspects to the Journal-World. Druen said the case has been sent to the Douglas County District Attorney’s ...

Lawrence woman charged with aggravated assault for allegedly threatening man with screwdriver while calling him a racial slur

A Lawrence woman is facing criminal charges for allegedly threatening a man with a screwdriver while calling him a racial slur. Michelle Mancini, 61, was formally charged with aggravated assault, a level-seven felony, and disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor, during her first appearance in Douglas County District Court on Thursday. Police arrested Mancini around 6 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Douglas County ...

Topeka teen sentenced to nearly 13 years for attempted murder of 2 teen brothers in Holcom Park

One of the two Topeka teens accused in a double shooting at a Lawrence park in 2019 was sentenced to almost 13 years in prison on Wednesday. Judge Sally Pokorny sentenced Sahavione K. Caraway, now 19, to 155 months in prison for attempted first-degree murder, a level-one felony. She also sentenced him to 59 months, almost five years, for aggravated robbery, a level-three felony. Caraway and Benson J. Edwards ...

Lawrence man, already accused of long-running sexual abuse of girl, facing additional child-sex charges in new case

Updated at 4 p.m. Tuesday A Lawrence man awaiting trial on multiple child-sex charges is now facing similar charges in a newly filed case. Dustyn D. Polk, 46, is accused of two counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child, one count of criminal sodomy and one count of indecent solicitation of a child, according to a charging document filed last week. The two aggravated indecent liberties charges ...

Lawrence man charged with involuntary manslaughter in accidental shooting that killed toddler

A Lawrence man has been charged with multiple felony offenses in connection with an accidental shooting that killed a toddler last month. Bishop I. Mendoza, 21, was formally charged in Douglas County District Court on Tuesday with involuntary manslaughter, two counts of aggravated endangering a child and theft, all of which are felonies. The manslaughter charge, a level-five felony, is the most serious ...

Lawrence teen charged with first-degree murder after extradition from Tennessee

Updated at 4:35 p.m. Monday A Lawrence man who was suspected of being involved in a fatal shooting in central Lawrence last month was formally charged with murder on Monday. Andrel Darnell Spates Jr., 19, was charged with first-degree murder, distribution of a controlled substance and criminal possession of a firearm by a felon during his first appearance in Douglas County District Court on Monday. The murder ...

Lawrence teen 2nd person to be charged in connection with reported robbery; 3rd suspect still sought

A second Lawrence man has been arrested in connection with a reported robbery last week. Victor G. Moreno, 18, was formally charged in Douglas County District Court on Monday with aggravated robbery, a level-three felony, and aggravated burglary, a level-four felony. Judge James T. George set a $100,000 cash or surety bond and scheduled Moreno's next court appearance for Nov. 2. Police arrested Moreno around ...

'Dark underbelly': Multiple Douglas County inmates wait to receive mental health treatment at state hospital, significantly delaying ongoing criminal cases

Over the past several years, an inmate in the Douglas County Jail suffered from significant mental health issues that would disrupt his ability to defend himself in court, prolonging his case for years. Once it was all said and done, the man spent six years in the county jail before he was convicted. That case resulted in a sentence of 16 months — less than a quarter of the amount of time he had been ...

Lawrence man awaiting sentencing after plea deal again arrested on suspicion of robbery and burglary

A Lawrence man scheduled to be sentenced for felony convictions next month has again been arrested for allegedly breaking into someone’s home to steal money. Casey L. Williams Jr., 24, was formally charged in Douglas County District Court on Friday with aggravated robbery, a level-three felony, and aggravated burglary, a level-four felony. Lt. David Ernst of the Lawrence Police Department said officers ...

Lawrence woman testifies she was shot in head, neck during May 27 shooting in North Lawrence

An 18-year-old woman testified in Douglas County District Court Thursday that two Lawrence teens followed her and her boyfriend in a vehicle through North Lawrence before a shooting where she was struck in the back of her head and neck. The woman, Caylee Nehrbass, testified during a preliminary hearing that Alejandro Martinez-Diaz and Ontareo X. Jackson, both 18, appeared to be chasing her and her boyfriend and ...

Topeka teen convicted of attempted murder through plea deal in Holcom Park shooting case

One of the two Topeka teens accused in a double shooting at a Lawrence park in 2019 was convicted of attempted murder through a plea deal last month. Sahavione K. Caraway, now 19, pleaded no contest to one count of attempted first-degree murder, a level-one felony, and one count of aggravated robbery, a level-three felony, according to court records provided to the Journal-World on Wednesday. Caraway entered ...

Artists Helping the Homeless' respite house has served dozens of men in first 2 years

In its first two years in Lawrence, a respite house operated by Artists Helping the Homeless has served dozens of men experiencing homelessness. The organization has also opened a second location to provide additional support for individuals getting back on their feet. Since opening in 2019, the Kairos House, a respite house at 1209 Randall Road operated by Artists Helping the Homeless, has served 75 homeless ...

Lawrence area receives about two inches of rain from overnight storm

An overnight storm in Douglas County provided a “decent amount” of rain but no reported damage, a meteorologist said on Monday. Sarah Teefey of the National Weather Service in Topeka told the Journal-World that the Lawrence area averaged about two inches of rain before noon on Monday. However, the western part of Douglas County appeared to receive more, with a trained spotter in Lecompton reporting almost ...

Lawrence school district, classified staff labor union reach tentative agreement with slight pay increase

A labor union representing the Lawrence school district’s classified staff has a tentative agreement with district administrators that includes a slight increase in pay. However, a school board member on the negotiations committee said discussions to further increase pay are expected later this fall. During a school board meeting on Monday, Superintendent Anthony Lewis announced that a 2021-22 school year ...

General Election Voters Guide: Lawrence school board candidates in their own words on district issues

Editor’s Note: The Journal-World asked school board candidates in this year’s general election to provide written responses to five questions regarding current issues facing the City of Lawrence. Each candidate was given 850 words in total to respond to the five questions. The Journal-World staff compiled a brief biography of each candidate using information from past interviews and their candidate filings ...

'This is a very special place': Lawrence High School alumni, school district celebrate $46 million renovation of historic school building

As the Lawrence school district celebrated the completion of a multi-year project to renovate Lawrence High School on Saturday, alumni who came back to see the historic building’s new look said it was an emotional experience. Some of the alumni who spoke at Saturday's ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the end of the $46 million project said they were on the verge of tears. They said they remembered what it was ...

Lawrence school board to meet in executive session to discuss labor contract with district staff

The Lawrence school board will convene for a brief meeting on Monday to discuss labor negotiations with district staff. The board is scheduled to discuss the contract negotiations in an executive session, which allows the board to meet in private to discuss the details of a certain issue up for consideration. Julie Boyle, a spokeswoman for the school district, said the meeting is meant to update the board on ...