Douglas County DA files new case against Lawrence man charged in Parnell Park shooting
A Lawrence man charged in connection with a January 2018 shooting that left one teen injured now has a new shooting case pending against him, meaning his statutory right to a speedy trial no longer applies.
Michael A. Hormell, 20, has been in the custody of the Douglas County Jail nearly two years since his arrest on Jan. 26, 2018. Police allege that he and his then-girlfriend set up a drug buy at Lawrence’s Parnell Park with the intent to rob the seller but that the seller fought back and was shot. The teen was flown to an area hospital in critical condition but later stabilized.
Hormell was later charged with attempted second-degree murder, aggravated robbery and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery, all felonies, and one count of theft, a misdemeanor.
In a separate case, a jury convicted Hormell on Aug. 26 of firing a gun at an occupied dwelling. The jury found that Hormell fired gunshots into a home in the 400 block of North Street on Jan. 24, 2018. Five adults and two children were inside but none was injured, according to a news release from the Douglas County district attorney’s office announcing the verdict.
His appointed defense attorney, Shaye Downing, has argued that the more serious case against Hormell — the injury shooting case, which she has called an “accident” in written motions — should be dismissed, partially because she said the state had violated his right to a speedy trial. In response, Senior Assistant District Attorney Deborah Moody wrote that statutory speedy trial did not apply because Hormell was being held on the two pending cases.
Kansas courts have held that statutory speedy trial rights do not apply to criminal defendants who are held in custody for any reason other than “the subject criminal charge,” according to Moody’s response, which cites a 2002 Kansas Supreme Court decision, State v. Mann.
However, Hormell was sentenced in November to time served in the lesser shooting case, leaving just the injury shooting case pending.
A jury trial had been set to begin in Hormell’s long-pending case Monday, but it was canceled and the summoned jurors were dismissed because Downing had filed a writ of habeas corpus with the Kansas Court of Appeals. Specific documentation in this case has not been available to the Journal-World, but in general, such a writ asks that a person be brought before the court and that the state justify the person’s detention.
In a new case filed this week, Hormell is charged with criminal discharge of a firearm, a felony. The charging document alleges that on or about Jan. 8, 2018, Hormell fired a weapon into an occupied building. It does not specify the type of building but says it was one “in which there is a human being whether the person discharging the firearm knows or has reason to know that there is a human being present.”
The charging document does contain a number for a corresponding Lawrence Police Department investigation. Patrick Compton, spokesman for LPD, provided information via email Friday about that incident number.
Compton said officers were sent to a residence in the 700 block of Arkansas Street around 7:45 p.m. Jan. 6, 2018, after several calls in reference to gunshots being fired. After speaking to witnesses, officers were able to locate a dwelling that appeared to have been struck by gunfire, he said.
In an emailed response to questions from the Journal-World, Dorothy Kliem, trial assistant for the Douglas County district attorney’s office, wrote that the new case has no bearing on the writ of habeas corpus. They are two distinct cases.
However, having once again two cases pending means that Hormell’s statutory right to a speedy trial no longer applies, Kliem confirmed Friday. His constitutional right to a speedy trial does still apply, though, Kliem said.
The U.S. Supreme Court has said there are four factors the court should consider when evaluating whether a defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial is violated: length of delay, reason for delay, the defendant’s assertion of his or her right and prejudice to the defendant, both Downing and Moody have written in documents in Hormell’s long-pending case.
Both have argued their points based on those four factors in multiple motions and responses since a jury trial was postponed in July. However, on Nov. 22, Douglas County District Court Judge Amy Hanley denied Downing’s most recent of two motions to dismiss the case, according to the DA’s office.
Kliem said the DA’s office is unable to comment on the timing of the new case, or on Hormell’s cases in general, because they are still pending.
Hormell was formally charged in the new case Thursday, and he is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Dec. 23. The injury shooting case, pending a directive from the appellate court, is set for a status conference in March.
Downing could not immediately be reached for comment Friday.
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