WRITER: Dylan Lysen

Kansas Court of Appeals overturns Eudora woman's murder conviction in baby's death, orders new trial

A Eudora woman's 2018 murder conviction in the death of a 9-month-old boy was overturned on Friday by the Kansas Court of Appeals and sent back to the Douglas County District Court for a new trial. The court ruled Carrody Buchhorn, now 47, received ineffective counsel during her 2018 trial, which denied her the right to a fair trial. The court said her attorneys failed to properly question a coroner’s ruling ...

Lawrence resident sworn in as first Black woman on Kansas Court of Appeals

A Lawrence resident made history on Friday when she was sworn in as the newest judge on the Kansas Court of Appeals. Jacy J. Hurst, who was appointed to the position earlier this year, was sworn in as the first woman of color to take a seat on the judicial panel. She was surrounded by family and friends during a ceremony in the court on Friday. The Court of Appeals' chief judge, Karen Arnold-Burger, briefly ...

State board votes to install public defender office for felony cases in Douglas County

Updated at 5:03 p.m. Friday Douglas County is expected to get a public defender office to provide counsel for indigent felony cases in the near future. Heather Cessna, executive director for the Kansas State Board of Indigents’ Defense Services, also known as BIDS, told the Journal-World Friday afternoon that the agency’s board voted to move forward with a plan to install the public defender office in ...

Jury finds Lawrence massage therapist guilty of sex crimes against child, former KU athletes

Updated at 4:33 p.m. Thursday A jury in Douglas County District Court on Thursday found a Lawrence massage therapist guilty of committing several sex crimes against five people, one of whom was a child and three of whom were soccer players at the University of Kansas at the time of the incidents. The jury convicted Shawn P. O’Brien, 50, of the eight charges he was facing. Three of the charges accused ...

Lawrence woman facing felony charges for allegedly abusing infant, other crimes

A Lawrence woman is facing felony charges in Douglas County District Court for allegedly abusing an infant. Brittany M. Jewell, 25, on Tuesday was formally charged with abuse of a child and aggravated assault, both felonies, stemming from a July 10 incident involving the infant. Jewell was also charged with criminal threat, a felony, and domestic battery, a misdemeanor, stemming from an Aug. 6 incident with two ...

Early data from law enforcement contact study shows people of color more likely to be searched by police

People of color in Douglas County who come in contact with law enforcement are almost twice as likely to be searched by police, according to the preliminary findings of a local law enforcement contact study. Additionally, across all searches, the most common outcome is that police will find no evidence that a crime has been committed. Researchers Jack McDevitt, of Northeastern University, and Janice Iwama, of ...

Lawrence school district expects spending ability to decrease by $1.5 million this coming school year

The Lawrence school district will see a decrease in spending authority during the upcoming school year because of a decrease in enrollment last year. However, local homeowners will also see a slight decrease in taxes toward the district’s funding. The school board on Monday heard a report on the district’s budget from Finance Director Kathy Johnson, who explained that the district plans to spend about ...

Local defense attorneys express skepticism that planned public defender office Kansas Holistic Defenders can meets its goals

While the Douglas County Commission prepares to set aside hundreds of thousands of dollars to help establish a public defender office for misdemeanor criminal cases, some local defense attorneys have expressed reservations about the idea. Hatem Chahine and Michael Clarke, two prominent defense attorneys who have worked for decades in Douglas County, recently told the Journal-World they are skeptical of the ...

Kansas Supreme Court upholds conviction of Lawrence woman found guilty of shooting ex to death, setting him on fire

The state’s highest court on Friday upheld the conviction of a Lawrence woman who was convicted of premeditated first-degree murder and other crimes. The Kansas Supreme Court announced in a news release its unanimous decision to uphold the conviction and sentence handed to Tria Evans, 41, who had challenged them through an appeal process. Evans was sentenced to life in prison for killing her ex-boyfriend, ...

Lawrence school board to hear 2021-22 budget report, consider setting public hearing date

The Lawrence school board will soon hear how its budget is shaping up for the new school year. But for the moment, district patrons are left to wonder whether the new budget will mean an increase in taxes. The board on Monday will hear a report from Kathy Johnson, the district’s finance director, about the 2021-22 school year budget. The board will consider approving the maximum levels of budget authority ...

Final advance mail ballots counted in school board primary election; Stephens holds slight lead over Clissold for final general election spot

The last mail ballots have been counted in the Lawrence school board primary election, and Elizabeth Stephens now holds a seven-vote lead over Melissa Clissold for the final spot on the general election ballot. The Douglas County Clerk’s Office announced that it did not receive any eligible mail ballots on Friday, which was the last day that ballots postmarked on the day of the election could be counted. ...

Lawrence police identify woman who died from being struck by vehicle in eastern Lawrence

Lawrence police have identified the woman who died from a fatal car collision in eastern Lawrence on Wednesday. Lt. Dave Ernst of the Lawrence Police Department on Thursday morning identified Lawrence resident Rachel Snow, 50, as the person who died at the scene of the collision on Wednesday. As the Journal-World previously reported, police responded to a report of a fatal collision at the 15th Street and ...

Former KU basketball player Silvio De Sousa found not guilty of aggravated battery

Former University of Kansas basketball player Silvio De Sousa was found not guilty of aggravated battery on Thursday in a case where he was accused of striking a man in the face and causing him to lose sight in one of his eyes. Immediately after the verdict was read in Douglas County District Court, De Sousa was visibly elated as he grabbed onto his attorney, Hatem Chahine, who successfully argued he should not ...

Person dies after being struck by vehicle in eastern Lawrence; police investigating

Story updated at 4:01 p.m. Wednesday: A person died after being struck by a vehicle in eastern Lawrence Wednesday morning. Lawrence police responded to a report of a fatal collision at the 15th Street and Haskell Avenue intersection around 8:30 a.m., Lt. Dave Ernst told the Journal-World. Officers determined that a person was either riding or pushing a bike in that area and was hit by a vehicle that was ...

Second Lawrence man arrested in connection with North Lawrence shooting

A second Lawrence man has been arrested in connection with a shooting that occurred in May in North Lawrence. Ontareo X. Jackson, 18, was arrested around 9 p.m. Tuesday on a probable cause warrant on suspicion of two counts of attempted second-degree murder, according to the Douglas County Jail booking log. As of Wednesday afternoon, Jackson was being held in the Douglas County Jail on a $75,000 cash or surety ...

Lawrence school board to discuss negotiation issues in special meeting on Thursday

The Lawrence school board will convene for a special meeting on Thursday to discuss ongoing negotiations with a labor union representing the district’s classified staff. Board President Erica Hill called for the board to meet virtually at 3 p.m. to discuss the matter in an executive session, which is a private meeting among the board members and some district administrators. According to the meeting agenda, ...

Crews battle house fire in northern Lawrence

Firefighters were working to put out a house fire in northern Lawrence on Wednesday afternoon. Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical crews were seen responding to a fire at 3425 Tillerman Drive around 4 p.m. Smoke could be seen coming from the roof of the home as firefighters worked near the front door and garage. Johnny Mai, the owner of the home, told the Journal-World his family had evacuated from the ...

Aggravated battery trial for former KU basketball player Silvio De Sousa begins with opening statements

A jury trial began in Douglas County District Court on Tuesday for former University of Kansas basketball player Silvio De Sousa, who is charged with aggravated battery for allegedly striking a man in the face and causing him to lose sight in one of his eyes. The jury selection process occupied most of the day, but the prosecution and the defense ended the day by providing their opening statements to the jury. ...

Incumbent Kelly Jones leads in primary for Lawrence school board; 2 candidates tie for the final spot in the general election

The two incumbent candidates for the Lawrence school board — Kelly Jones and G.R. Gordon-Ross — appeared set to move on to the general election after Tuesday's primary, despite a large number of other candidates looking to unseat them. However, it's not yet clear who will be taking the sixth and final spot on the general election ballot, because two candidates — Melissa Clissold and Elizabeth Stephens — ...

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Tuesday final day to cast ballot in City Commission, school board primary elections

Douglas County residents hoping to have a say on the upcoming city and school district primary elections have just one more day to cast a ballot. The primary elections for the Lawrence City Commission and the Lawrence school board are Tuesday. Polls are open until 7 p.m. So far, more voters have cast ballots during advance voting than they did in the 2017 city and school primary elections, Douglas County Clerk ...