WRITER: Sara Shepherd

Fireworks blamed for 2 injuries, dumpster fire over July 4th holiday in Douglas County

Story updated: 4:45 p.m. Friday. Fireworks injured at least two people and also caused a dumpster fire over the Fourth of July holiday this year in Douglas County. Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical responded to two fireworks-related injuries in the county, one of which was serious enough the patient was taken by ambulance to a hospital, Division Chief Tom Fagan said in an email. Fagan did not provide ...

Police launch internal investigation into arrest that left Lawrence skateboarder with fractured elbow

Lawrence resident and avid skateboarder Duc Tran says he’s had plenty of friendly interactions with local police over the years. But after being accused of assaulting an officer with his skateboard and then having his elbow fractured and shoulders dislocated during a rough arrest last weekend, Tran, 43, says he’s planning a formal complaint. Lawrence police said Wednesday they’ve actually already ...

Teen who brought gun to school sentenced to probation, house arrest

A teen who brought a handgun to Lawrence High School earlier this year was sentenced Wednesday to probation. Douglas County District Court juvenile judge Bethany Roberts sentenced the boy on Wednesday to six months of probation, including house arrest, according to court records. In May, the boy pleaded no contest and was convicted — as a juvenile — of criminal use of weapons, a misdemeanor, for ...

Lawrence police plan DUI patrol over July Fourth weekend

Lawrence police will conduct a DUI saturation patrol on Saturday throughout the city, the department announced Tuesday. The special patrol will place extra officers on the street specifically to look for motorists showing signs of impaired driving or other traffic violations, the department’s news release said. For motorists who are stopped, officers will perform field sobriety tests if they show signs of ...

Funding a drug court is the next step for Douglas County's incarceration alternatives, DA tells commissioners

Story updated at 3:03 p.m. Monday, July 1: The Douglas County district attorney says his office already has programs successfully diverting numerous simpler cases from court. Taking those efforts to the next level won’t be as simple or cheap. “We’re getting down to the hard cases,” District Attorney Charles Branson said. Creating a drug court may be expensive and resource-heavy, but it’s a needed ...

Man convicted in Eudora bar murder settles civil lawsuit with victim’s family

A lawsuit brought by the family of a Eudora murder victim against his killer has been settled and dismissed. According to Douglas County District Court records, the case was formally dismissed June 17. Defendant Danny W. Queen and plaintiff Scott Hopson jointly requested the dismissal after reaching a settlement in late April. The terms of that settlement were not filed in court. Hopson told the ...

Lawrence man raped sleeping woman while a guest at her house, affidavit alleges

A Lawrence man reportedly raped a woman who’d allowed him to stay at her house as she slept deeply from ingesting alcohol and sleeping pills, a police affidavit says. Perry L. Oatis, 54, was arrested at the scene in the early morning hours of May 27, after the woman’s roommate saw him assaulting her and called police. Oatis was charged the next day in Douglas County District Court with rape for allegedly ...

Woman who sold sex at Lawrence massage parlors gets probation

A woman who operated a prostitution business out of massage parlors in Lawrence and Topeka was sentenced to probation on Wednesday in federal court in Topeka. In addition to serving three years on probation, Weiling Nielsen, 54, agreed to pay a $650,000 judgment representing proceeds from her crimes, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said in a news release after her sentencing. Nielsen owned and operated Naima ...

Topeka man charged in Lawrence payday loan store robbery

A Topeka man has been charged in federal court with robbing payday loan businesses in Lawrence and Topeka. Derick Renee Crawford, 29, was indicted Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Kansas, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said in a news release. Crawford faces two counts of commercial robbery for allegedly robbing the Advance America store at 2223 Louisiana St. in Lawrence on Feb. 21 and, about a month ...

Teen convicted of bringing gun to LHS in his backpack

Story updated: 4:50 p.m. Thursday, June 27, 2019. A boy who brought a handgun to Lawrence High School in his backpack earlier this year was convicted Wednesday in Douglas County District Court. After entering a plea of no contest, the boy was convicted as a juvenile for criminal use of a weapon, a misdemeanor, by Judge Bethany Roberts. Specifically, according to charges, he possessed a gun with a barrel less ...

Gunshots send people running at Lawrence apartment complex

Gunshots fired at a Lawrence apartment complex apparently sent a number of people running Tuesday night, but no one was hit. The disturbance was reported just after 11:10 p.m. Tuesday in the 1000 block of West 24th Street. Multiple callers reported hearing gunshots and seeing multiple people run into a nearby residence, Sgt. Amy Rhoads of the Lawrence Police Department said Wednesday in an email. She said ...

Man arrested after reportedly flashing gun at downtown Lawrence bar

A man who got kicked out of a downtown Lawrence bar reportedly displayed a gun when he wasn’t allowed back in early Wednesday morning. Lawrence police were dispatched to the Jazzhaus, 926 Massachusetts St., just after midnight for a reported disturbance with weapons, Sgt. Amy Rhoads said in an email. The suspect had been removed from the business for a disturbance on the patio but then returned and tried to ...

KU police looking for peeping Tom targeting women’s restrooms on campus

University of Kansas police are looking for a peeping Tom who’s reportedly been going into women’s restrooms on campus. Three times this month, a man has gone into women’s restrooms in Strong Hall and the Dole Center and has looked under an occupied bathroom stall, KU police said in a campus crime alert put out Wednesday along with a surveillance photo of the suspect. Police said the victims in all three ...

Jury finds Topeka man guilty of 3 downtown Lawrence murders

Story updated at 1:50 p.m. Tuesday A Douglas County jury on Tuesday convicted Anthony L. Roberts Jr. of three murders and one attempted murder in the 2017 mass shooting in downtown Lawrence. Following a two-week trial and about five hours of deliberations, jurors returned their verdict just before 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in Douglas County District Court. They found Roberts, 22, of Topeka, guilty as charged on all ...

Jury deliberating intentional murder versus self-defense in Mass. Street triple murder case

Updated story - June 25 — Jury finds Topeka man guilty of 3 downtown Lawrence murders Story updated at 5:48 p.m. Monday, June 24: Jurors on Monday began weighing whether a young Topeka man committed murder when he opened fire on Massachusetts Street. Following two weeks of jury selection and testimony in the trial of Anthony L. Roberts Jr., 22, in Douglas County District Court, attorneys delivered ...

Lawrence police investigate case of person shot in leg

Lawrence police were investigating after a person with a gunshot wound to the leg sought treatment at the hospital over the weekend. About 10:45 a.m. Sunday, officers were dispatched to Lawrence Memorial Hospital regarding a patient who came into the emergency room with a gunshot wound to the leg, Officer Shawn Gross said Monday in an email to media. Gross said the initial reported location was near 23rd and ...

Rollover accident injures 2 in northern Lawrence

One person was flown to an area hospital with serious injuries following a rollover accident in northern Lawrence early Monday morning. Lawrence police responded to the crash shortly before 4:30 a.m. in the 100 block of North Kasold Drive, Officer Shawn Gross said in an email to media. Arriving officers found a rollover crash with one person ejected from the vehicle and one person trapped inside, Gross said. ...

Man accused of fatally shooting 3 on Mass. Street says he fired wildly in fear, ‘wasn’t thinking at all’

Updated story - June 25 — Jury finds Topeka man guilty of 3 downtown Lawrence murders Confronted by a group of foes from Topeka at the corner of 11th and Massachusetts streets, Anthony L. Roberts Jr. pulled his gun with an extended magazine and started firing. “When I got done shooting, everybody scattered,” the 22-year-old Topeka man told a jury Friday, during his murder trial in Douglas County ...

Tornado damaged $22M worth of buildings in Douglas County

The total value of Douglas County structures damaged by the recent tornado was $22 million, the county said this week. The Douglas County Appraiser’s Office calculated the figure by totaling the appraised value of all structures damaged by the tornado, whether totally destroyed or less severely damaged, according to county communications specialist Karrey Britt. Britt said the appraiser’s office tally ...

Mass. Street triple murder defendant: ‘I been shot twice’ in Topeka, came to Lawrence to party without fear of violence

Updated story - June 25 — Jury finds Topeka man guilty of 3 downtown Lawrence murders Story updated 8:41 p.m. Thursday, June 20, 2019: Anthony L. Roberts Jr. said he came to Lawrence to go out downtown, where — unlike his hometown of Topeka — it was safe. “I know I can come down here, and I ain’t got to worry about getting shot at,” he said. “I ain’t never had an incident down here ...