One co-defendant in downtown Lawrence triple murder case now free after pleading to misdemeanor

photo by: Nick Krug

Defendant Dominique J. McMillon appears before Douglas County District Court Judge Sally Pokorny on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017 in the Division Six courtroom.

Updated at 4:55 p.m. Tuesday

One of three Topeka men charged in connection with a triple homicide and fight in downtown Lawrence walked free from Douglas County District Court on Tuesday.

Dominique J. McMillon, 20, pleaded no contest to a single count of misdemeanor battery and was sentenced to less time than he’s already served in jail for the case, his appointed attorney, J.C. Gilroy, said.

“Mr. McMillon is pleased with the outcome,” Gilroy said.

McMillon is the man who started a fistfight that escalated into gunfire, which killed three people and wounded two others at the corner of 11th and Massachusetts streets at bar-closing time on Oct. 1, 2017.

“By entering his plea McMillon acknowledges his role in starting the fight,” Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson said, in a news release. “Resolving this case allows the State to concentrate on the two remaining and more serious cases.”

McMillon’s charges were significantly less severe than his two co-defendants’, one of whom is charged with three murders and the other with two attempted murders.

In addition to the battery charge for hitting a man before the shootings, McMillon initially was charged with one count of aggravated assault, a felony, for allegedly threatening the same man with a gun.

McMillon’s felony charge was dropped in exchange for his plea, Gilroy said.

McMillon’s March 18 jury trial has been called off.

It’s unclear whether he will testify against his friends at their upcoming trials.

However, his plea deal with prosecutors doesn’t include any requirement to do so, Gilroy said.

The DA’s office did not respond Tuesday to whether prosecutors plan to call McMillon to testify.

McMillon and the other two men began trial as a group in November. But after declaring a mistrial before a jury was selected, Judge Sally Pokorny split up the three trials.

At that time McMillon already had been in jail potentially longer than he would be imprisoned if convicted of all his original charges, Gilroy and prosecutors said.

McMillon remained in custody on $25,000 bond. He was later granted a $50,000 personal recognizance bond and bailed out of jail in late January, according to court records.

McMillon listed a Topeka address, and while on bond was ordered to have no contact with any victims or witnesses in the case, and to have no guns, drugs or alcohol.

For McMillon’s battery conviction, Pokorny sentenced him to 180 days in jail, Branson said in the news release. McMillon had already spent 463 days in custody.

Lawrence’s only triple homicide in recent memory happened after groups of men from Topeka with prior bad relations encountered each other in the street. The fistfight broke out, then a spray of around 20 gunshots.

Killed were Leah Elizabeth Brown, 22, of Shawnee; Colwin Lynn Henderson III, 20, of Topeka; and Tre’Mel Dupree Dean-Rayton, 24, of Topeka. Two more Topeka men were shot but survived.

Brown was the only victim who didn’t know anyone involved. She had just left a bar with a friend.

Anthony L. Roberts Jr., 21, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of second-degree murder and one count of attempted second-degree murder in the case. His trial is set to begin June 10.

Ahmad M. Rayton, 23, faces two counts of attempted second-degree murder and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Rayton is scheduled to go on trial April 8.

Roberts and Rayton each remain jailed on $1 million bond.

Recent coverage: Downtown Lawrence triple murder trial

• Jan. 11 — Massachusetts Street triple murder trial pushed back until June

• Dec. 4 — After attorney drama in Lawrence triple murder trial, new defense team ready to move forward

• Nov. 20 — Citing ‘incompetence,’ judge kicks attorney off downtown Lawrence triple murder case

• Nov. 16 — Defense attorney tainted jury pool, causing mistrial in downtown Lawrence triple murder case, transcript reveals

• Nov. 15 — Judge: Defense attorney’s demand to disqualify DA from triple murder trial was ‘totally misplaced’

• Nov. 9 — Each defendant in downtown triple murder case will now have his own trial; family of shooting victim ‘devastated’

• Nov. 8 — Mass. Street triple murder trial called off: Judge declares mistrial before jury is picked

• Nov. 7 — Still no jury after 3 days of jury selection for downtown Lawrence triple murder trial

• Nov. 6 — Jury selection spills into third day for Massachusetts Street triple murder trial; media coverage of high-profile case factors into questioning

• Nov. 5 — About 170 potential jurors fill courthouse to begin selection process for downtown Lawrence triple murder trial

• Nov. 1 — Murder defendant’s attorney, DAs clash in ‘cringeworthy’ final hearing before Mass. Street trial

• Oct. 31 — In last-minute filing, Mass. Street triple murder defendant wants DA disqualified from upcoming trial

• Oct. 19 — Lawyer says Massachusetts Street triple murder defendant plans to argue self-defense, slain men shouldn’t be called victims


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