Teens set up drug buy at Lawrence park, then robbed and shot teen dealer, according to allegations in affidavits

Michael A. Hormell

Two teens set up a drug buy at a Lawrence park with plans to rob the seller instead, but when the seller fought back, one of the teens shot him before making off with the marijuana, authorities allege.

Affidavits supporting arrests of the two suspects shed more light on the incident. Following a request to Douglas County District Court, the Journal-World this week received affidavits in the cases of Michael A. Hormell and Ardyn D. Pannell, both 18-year-old Lawrence residents.

The shooting happened about 5 p.m. Jan. 26 at Parnell Park, 901 E. 15th St. The 17-year-old victim — shot once in the left side of the chest, the affidavit says — was flown to a hospital in critical condition and later stabilized.

It did not take long for the suspects to be caught.

According to the affidavits:

Ardyn D. Pannell

Witnesses at the scene called police and provided descriptions of two suspects and the black pickup they were in, including its license number. Law enforcement stopped the truck south of town not long after the shooting.

Inside, they found Pannell driving and Hormell with a bloodied face and a baggie of marijuana in his pocket. Also in the truck was a handgun with blood on the magazine.

Pannell told police that she and Hormell, her boyfriend, planned the robbery, though she’d told Hormell to use a “BB gun” he brought instead of the real gun he also brought.

According to her police statement outlined in the affidavits:

Pannell told the victim she would buy 5 grams of marijuana from him for $50 and arranged to meet him at the park.

Once there, the victim opened the passenger door of Pannell’s truck and started to get inside. Hormell, in the back seat wearing a ski mask, produced a gun and told the victim to give him the marijuana.

The victim got out of the truck, Hormell followed, and a fight ensued. Pannell said she saw the victim on top of Hormell hitting him in the head with a gun magazine, then heard Hormell say that he shot him.

After the victim lay down, Pannell said she saw Hormell get up, take the magazine out of his hand and kick him in the head before getting back in the truck.

“Pannell admitted she knew what she did was wrong and was sorry,” the affidavit says.

Hormell was treated at the hospital for his injuries, then taken to police headquarters, where he declined to speak with investigators.

He did, however, call his parents from a detective’s phone and was advised the calls would be on speaker, the affidavit said.

Over the phone, the detective “explained Hormell’s situation” and Hormell said, “An incident went down … I shot somebody.”

Hormell is charged with one count each of attempted second-degree murder, aggravated robbery and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery, all felonies; and one count of theft, a misdemeanor.

Pannell is charged with one count each of aggravated robbery and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery, both felonies.

Both remained jailed this week, Hormell on $100,000 bond and Pannell on $50,000.

Their appointed attorneys declined to comment to the Journal-World on the allegations in the affidavits.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the amount of marijuana that was discussed.