Affidavit: Murder defendant says he tried to force man, high on meth, out of home before shooting him

Lawrence police officers are pictured outside 2013 W. 27th Terrace, the scene of a fatal shooting shortly before 10 p.m. Sept. 19, 2017.

Steven A. Drake III told police that he shot Bryce Holladay in the face at close range, and at least two other people saw him do it.

That and the escalation leading up to the shooting — which left Holladay dead at Drake’s doorway — are outlined in an affidavit explaining the reason for Drake’s arrest. Drake and witnesses said Holladay, whom Drake and other witnesses described as high on meth, had come into the home and refused to leave, even with four people trying to physically force him out the front door.

The Journal-World requested the affidavit, which was prepared by Lawrence police, and received it this week from Douglas County District Court.

The shooting happened about 9:45 p.m. Sept. 19 at Drake’s home, a duplex in the 2000 block of West 27th Terrace.

Holladay, 26, a Lawrence resident, died at the scene. Drake, 20, was arrested after the incident on suspicion of voluntary manslaughter but was charged on Sept. 21 with first-degree murder instead.

Steven A. Drake

Drake told 911 dispatchers that he had just shot Holladay in the face, that Holladay was dead and that he’d placed the handgun he used on a table and was not going to touch it, according to the affidavit.

When police arrived, Drake walked down the driveway with his hands up and told an officer, “I’m the one who shot him,” according to the affidavit. The officer found Holladay, bleeding, just outside the front door of the home and began to render aid, but arriving medical personnel pronounced him dead.

Drake and his girlfriend, a roommate and a woman he considers his stepmom, also a resident of the home, were all there when the shooting happened and were interviewed by police afterward.

According to the affidavit:

The roommate said Holladay, whom they knew, had come to the home and that he let him in. But Holladay, who appeared to be “tweaking,” started rummaging through the residence and the roommate eventually called Drake.

Drake and his girlfriend, who had been at a friend’s house, returned to 27th Terrace and found Holladay in the living room, where Drake confronted him about taking items and yelled at him to leave.

Drake told police that Holladay was high on meth, digging his fingernails into his own face, scratching himself all over and not comprehending what he was being told. The girlfriend said Holladay would periodically nod off for a minute at a time, then wake up and continue his conversation with Drake.

Drake’s stepmom told police she then arrived home and told Holladay to empty his pockets, which he did, and to leave, which he didn’t, even after she threatened him with a baseball bat.

Drake and the others said they were able to push Holladay partially out the front door but couldn’t get it closed because he was bracing himself against it and throwing punches at them, one of which Drake’s girlfriend said hit her in the face. She and Drake’s stepmom said they both sprayed Holladay with mace but that he continued punching and trying to get back in.

Drake’s stepmom said she went to call 911.

The others said that Drake warned Holladay to get off his property or he’d shoot him. They said Holladay continued fighting, Drake went to get a gun, pointed it at Holladay’s head and told him again to leave.

Bryce Holladay

Drake then shot Holladay one time.

“Drake said Holladay looked up at him, and gave no indication of understanding what Drake had just told him, and continued to push on the front door and strike at those inside the residence,” the affidavit said. “Drake said he then fired one round at Holladay” from 8 to 10 inches away.

Detectives asked Drake whether he was afraid during the altercation and Drake said yes, though he was more fearful for the safety of his girlfriend and stepmom, according to the affidavit.

When asked why he shot Holladay, according to the affidavit, “Drake said Holladay wouldn’t leave his residence and had no right to be in his house, let alone going through his belongings looking for something to steal.”

Detectives also asked Drake whether he considered calling police during the confrontation, which lasted around 45 minutes. According to the affidavit, Drake told them that his phone was dead, and that even if he’d called Holladay probably would have just taken off and come back the next day and he’d have to deal with him again.

“I don’t call the cops, it’s never been a thing of mine,” Drake told the detectives, according to the affidavit.

Drake’s appointed attorney, Angela Keck, did not immediately return messages from the Journal-World seeking comment Thursday afternoon.

Drake remains jailed on $750,000 bond. His next court hearing is scheduled for Oct. 31.