WRITER: Mackenzie Clark

Man charged with possessing child porn worked at Lawrence Public Schools, Hilltop Child Development Center

A Lawrence man accused of possessing child pornography has been employed in two positions working with or around children, the Journal-World has found. Bruce S. Springsteen, 62, was charged March 6 with three counts of sexual exploitation of a child. The complaint filed against him alleges that on three occasions between Jan. 29, 2018, and Dec. 23, 2019, Springsteen possessed “any visual depiction” of a ...

At Douglas County Jail, female inmates still sharing cells; total population has dropped

A dwindling inmate population at the Douglas County Jail is educated about guidelines that public health officials have issued in the wake of the global pandemic coronavirus disease, COVID-19, but some women are still double-booked in cells, a spokeswoman said Friday. Nationwide, advocates for criminal justice reform and some prison staff members have been calling for action to prevent what could become a very ...

Lawrence man arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, aggravated robbery

A Lawrence man is facing a charge of attempted second-degree murder, among others, in Douglas County District Court. Geryan Joseph Murdock, 21, was arrested at his home on a probable cause warrant Friday afternoon, according to the Douglas County Jail booking log. The complaint in a pending court case shows that Murdock is to be charged with attempted second-degree murder, aggravated robbery and criminal ...

Scammers are taking advantage of COVID-19 panic; don’t fall for ‘cures,’ at-home tests and other pitches

Updated at 1:42 p.m. Friday: A global pandemic would not be complete without scammers looking to capitalize on people’s fears and anxiety, but you can protect yourself and your loved ones, even from afar, with a little bit of knowledge. One scam that’s making the rounds involves individuals and businesses selling fake “cures” for the coronavirus disease, COVID-19, according to a recent news release ...

$20M lawsuit alleges negligence of doctor at LMH caused man to suffer brain injury, partial paralysis

Updated at 3:40 p.m. Thursday: A man who was taken to Lawrence Memorial Hospital for stroke symptoms suffered debilitating injuries and partial paralysis as the result of a doctor’s negligence, a lawsuit alleges. Lawrence attorney Jerry Levy wrote in court documents that his client seeks damages of $20 million for himself and his wife. Richard Peasah was taken to LMH by ambulance and arrived at 6:05 a.m. ...

Lawrence police spokesman: Officers acted quickly in situation that ‘could have easily ended in tragedy’

A spokesman for the Lawrence Police Department said Wednesday that officers acted fast to prevent what could have been a tragic incident last month. As the Journal-World reported Tuesday, Lawrence police officers Joshua Doncouse and Ian McCann stopped a man who they believed was readying an AK-47 to shoot at crowds in one of the city’s most popular bar districts in the early hours of Friday, Feb. 28, ...

Need to pay child support in Douglas County? Here’s how to do it amid the pandemic

Updated at 10:35 a.m. Thursday: Chief Judge James McCabria sent out an email Wednesday to address some frequently asked questions that the Douglas County District Court has received after the Kansas Supreme Court’s order restricting court operations to emergencies only. Prompted by the global pandemic coronavirus disease, COVID-19, the state Supreme Court issued an order March 18 that halted most court ...

KU says massage therapist's alleged misconduct involved at least 6 female student-athletes, went unreported by trainer

Story updated at 4:01 p.m. Tuesday: An athletic trainer at the University of Kansas was aware of “at least some reports of unwarranted and unwanted touching” by a massage therapist who worked with female student athletes, university leaders said Tuesday. Shawn P. O’Brien, who has been charged with aggravated indecent liberties with a child in an unrelated court case, allegedly conducted himself ...

Topeka teen was readying AK-47 as crowds left Lawrence bars, affidavit alleges

Lawrence police stopped a man who they believed was readying to shoot at crowds in one of the city’s most popular bar districts, according to court documents. Dayson Gage Kelley, 18, was charged in Douglas County District Court on March 3 with two counts of aggravated assault on law enforcement officers and one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, all felonies. He was released from the ...

Douglas County juvenile detention center has no plan to release incarcerated youths; activists make national push

Douglas County Youth Services currently has halted in-person visitation but has no plan in place to release youths who have health concerns, a county leader said recently. Meanwhile, at the state and national levels, youth justice advocacy groups have written letters pushing for youths to be released from juvenile detention centers and halting new admissions to such facilities, as concerns have grown over the ...

Eudora man charged with attempted murder in reported Lawrence stabbing

Updated at 9:32 a.m. Tuesday: A Eudora man was charged Monday in connection with a reported stabbing that left a man with life-threatening injuries on Friday in Lawrence. Lawrence police arrested Maurice Antonius Atkins, 31, at an apartment in the 700 block of West 25th Street Friday afternoon. Atkins was charged Monday in Douglas County District Court with attempted second-degree murder and aggravated ...

Speedy trial rights are on hold in Kansas. What does that mean for defendants?

As Rontarus Washington Jr. left the courtroom on Oct. 4, 2019, following a hung jury in his murder trial, he told his mother, “Wipe them tears; they can’t keep me forever.” That was before the coronavirus disease became a global pandemic and the Kansas Supreme Court suspended speedy trial laws “until further order.” As of March 16, Washington had been in custody of the Douglas County Jail for five ...

Douglas County district attorney's office closed to the public through April 3

The Douglas County district attorney’s office will be closed to the public through Friday, April 3, according to Cheryl Wright Kunard, assistant to DA Charles Branson. The closure comes “(f)ollowing a multitude of orders and recommendations” by public health officials at the national, state and local levels, as well as the Kansas Supreme Court’s order restricting judicial operations statewide, Wright ...

Late-night calls about handguns turned out to be BB guns, Lawrence police say

Lawrence police investigated multiple calls involving weapons or gunshots Thursday night. However, it did not appear that any shots were actually fired, and in two unrelated incidents, both guns turned out to be BB guns, a department spokesman said. Around 9:30 p.m., officers were dispatched to the intersection of 10th and Massachusetts streets for a reported disturbance with weapons, Patrick Compton told the ...

Man critically injured in possible stabbing in Lawrence

A man suffered life-threatening injuries in an incident in Lawrence Friday afternoon, police said. Just after 2 p.m., Lawrence police officers were dispatched to a residence in the 700 block of West 25th Street regarding an unknown emergency, LPD spokesman Patrick Compton said via email Friday. Emergency radio traffic shortly thereafter indicated that it was possibly a stabbing. Upon arrival, officers found ...

What you need to know: Lawrence-area law enforcement shares latest updates amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Lawrence Police Department and Douglas County Sheriff’s Office are responding to calls for service with phone calls whenever they can in order to help “flatten the curve” of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both agencies have made some changes to procedures in recent days, and there may be more to come as guidance from public health officials becomes more stringent. Lawrence Police Department spokesman ...

Baldwin City woman gets hard-25 sentence as accomplice in Lawrence man’s murder

Story updated at 11:31 a.m. Wednesday A woman who pleaded guilty to first-degree premeditated murder in the killing of a Lawrence man has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. Now-20-year-old Ashlyn N. Hemmerling, of Baldwin City, was sentenced for her role as an accomplice in the shooting death of Taylor Dean Sawyer, of Lawrence, Jefferson County Attorney Josh Ney announced in a news release ...

Board upholds license suspension of Lawrence masseur charged with child sex crime

The city’s Bodywork Advisory Board on Wednesday voted 4-1 to uphold the city clerk’s decision to suspend the license of Shawn P. O’Brien, a Lawrence massage therapist who has been charged with a child sex crime. Though O’Brien has not been convicted, City Clerk Sherri Riedemann wrote in a memo in the board’s agenda that the charge against O’Brien, aggravated indecent liberties with a child, was a ...

Douglas County Jail visitations continue; would-be inmate sent away at intake to self-quarantine

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office had not yet made any changes to visitation at the jail as of Wednesday afternoon, but one would-be inmate had been released to self-quarantine. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many public facilities around the country have closed to visitors — including Kansas Department of Corrections prisons, according to a March 13 news release from the state secretary of corrections. ...

Kansas Supreme Court: State courts to conduct emergency operations only; cases won't be dismissed

All district and appellate courts in Kansas are to conduct only emergency operations “until further order,” the state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday, and “no action will be dismissed for lack of prosecution.” The directive comes amid growing concerns about the coronavirus disease. Only jury trials that are currently underway are an exception, but no other criminal or civil trials will be scheduled until ...