Hearing expected to reveal details of triple homicide on Massachusetts Street

photo by: Nick Krug

Defendant Anthony L. Roberts Jr. is called to appear before Douglas County District Court Judge Sally Pokorny on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017 in the Division Six courtroom. Roberts is accused of murdering three people in downtown Lawrence on Oct. 1. Two other defendants in the incident also appeared in the courtroom Wednesday — Dominique J. McMillon, seated in back, and Ahmad Rayton, seated in front.

UPDATED STORY: Testimony begins in preliminary hearing for 3 defendants in Massachusetts Street murder case

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Details are expected to unfold publicly on Thursday about October’s triple homicide on Massachusetts Street.

A joint preliminary hearing for three men charged in connection with the incident is scheduled to begin Thursday morning in Douglas County District Court. If not completed Thursday, the hearing will resume on Jan. 19.

After hearing testimony from witnesses, Judge Sally Pokorny is expected to determine whether there’s probable cause to bind the men over for trial on the charges.

Lawrence police investigate the scene of a shooting incident on Massachusetts Street between 10th and 11th streets that left three people dead and injured others early Sunday morning.

District Attorney Charles Branson, who is prosecuting the case, has named more than two dozen people as witnesses who could be called to the stand to testify at the hearing, according to court documents.

Among potential witnesses named is a man who was allegedly threatened with a gun during the incident, according to charges, and a woman who had just left a Massachusetts Street bar with her friend Leah Brown when Brown was fatally shot, according to media reports.

Doctors from the Kansas City area and Lawrence Memorial Hospital, coroner Erik Mitchell and a host of Lawrence police officers and detectives also are on the list.

Pokorny denied the Journal-World’s previous requests for affidavits supporting search warrants connected to the case and affidavits supporting the defendants’ arrests, documents that outline witness statements and evidence gathered by police.

Lawrence police have released little information about what transpired. However, in response to questions from the Journal-World, Officer Derrick Smith said there were no additional suspects in the case.

The shootings happened about 1:40 a.m. Oct. 1 at the intersection of 11th and Massachusetts streets, where, police say, a flurry of gunfire erupted from a physical altercation around the time when bars were letting out for the night.

Brown, 22, of Shawnee; Colwin Lynn Henderson, 20, of Topeka; and Tre’Mel Dupree Dean-Rayton, 24, also of Topeka, were killed. Two other Topeka men were shot but survived.

Three Topeka men, arrested in October in the weeks following the killings, are charged in connection with the case.

Anthony L. Roberts Jr., 20, is charged with one count of first-degree felony murder, for allegedly killing Brown while attempting to kill others; two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Henderson and Dean-Rayton; and one count of attempted second-degree murder for allegedly shooting Tahzay Rayton two times.

Topeka-based attorney Jennifer Chaffee is representing Roberts. He remains jailed on $1 million bond.

Ahmad M. Rayton, 22, is charged with one count of attempted second-degree murder for allegedly shooting Royelle Hunt in the leg. He is also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Rayton, whose appointed attorney is Michael Clarke, is jailed on $1 million bond.

Dominique J. McMillon, 19, is charged with one count of aggravated assault for allegedly threatening Robert Wheeler with a gun, and one count of battery, also against Wheeler.

McMillon is being held on $25,000 bond. His appointed attorney is J.C. Gilroy.