Jury selection will continue for third day in Massachusetts Street murder trial
photo by: Sara Shepherd
The process of choosing the people who will decide the case of Anthony L. Roberts Jr. — the Topeka man charged with three murders in the 2017 shootings on Massachusetts Street — will continue into a third day.
After the second day of jury selection for the trial, about 60 potential jurors remained in the group at the end of the day Tuesday afternoon. Selection will continue Wednesday morning in Judge Sally Pokorny’s courtroom in Douglas County District Court.
District Attorney Charles Branson began his part of the voir dire process, or questioning of potential jurors, Tuesday afternoon. Previously attorneys questioned numerous jurors privately in the judge’s chambers.
The trial is scheduled to last two weeks.
Roberts, 22, is charged with two counts of first-degree felony murder, one count of second-degree murder, and one count of attempted second-degree murder in the Oct. 1, 2017, incident.
It was bar-closing time, about 1:40 a.m., on a busy weekend night in downtown Lawrence when a fistfight and then a spray of close to 20 gunshots broke out on the northwest corner of 11th and Massachusetts streets.
Hit and killed by the bullets were Leah Elizabeth Brown, 22, of Shawnee; Colwin Lynn Henderson III, 20, of Topeka; and Tre’Mel Dupree Dean-Rayton, 24, of Topeka. Royelle Hunt and Tahzay Rayton, both of Topeka, were shot but survived.
Brown, who’d just left a nearby bar, was the only victim who knew no one involved. According to previous testimony in the case, the fighting started between groups of Topeka men with prior bad blood.
Roberts’ trial initially got underway in November, but that trial was called off when the judge declared a mistrial four days into jury selection because his first attorney tainted the jury pool with misstatements and inappropriate questioning.
Afterward, the judge appointed Roberts new attorneys and split his trial from that of his two co-defendants, both of whom were charged with less severe crimes. Ahmad M. Rayton, 23, and Dominique J. McMillon, 20, both of Topeka, have since pleaded to lesser charges and been sentenced.
More coverage from trial
• June 18 — Witness says defendant told her, ‘I shot Colwin’
photo by: Contributed photos