Man tried to buy gun in Lawrence, killed sister in the span of a few hours, affidavit alleges

photo by: Johnson County Sheriff's Office

Parker John Mays, pictured in January 2020

A man who has been charged with first-degree murder in Johnson County District Court tried to buy a rifle in Lawrence shortly before his sister’s killing, court documents allege.

The man’s mother reportedly called police, frantic, and told them “her daughter’s wrists were slit and her son was crazy” upon finding the 22-year-old woman bloody on the floor inside the home.

Parker John Mays, 27, was arrested at his home in Lawrence around 4 p.m. Jan. 14, 2020, according to the police affidavit supporting his arrest. Other court documents list the address of his family’s Overland Park home for Mays.

Allegations in affidavits have not been proved in court, and defendants in criminal cases should be presumed not guilty unless and until they are convicted.

According to the affidavit:

Mays went to a Lawrence business and tried to buy a rifle. The document does not specify the business. He reportedly told employees that his family was dead and he needed a firearm to protect himself; he also told them that “the City of Baldwin had moved.”

Video from a neighbor’s house reportedly shows Mays’ van pulling into the driveway of the Overland Park home at 12:24 p.m. Jan. 14. He left at 12:53 p.m.

At 1:26 p.m., a woman reportedly called police to say she saw a van headed westbound on Interstate 435 to westbound Kansas Highway 10. She said she saw the driver throw a boot, two gloves and a floormat out of the van as he drove. Officers found the items and some had apparent blood on them, according to the affidavit.

Mays’ mother returned home and found Layne Mays lying on the living room floor. She called police at 1:38 p.m. When police arrived, they found Layne Mays with multiple deep cuts to her face and wrists, with blood around her head and hands. Officers attempted life-saving measures despite the fact that she had no pulse, according to the affidavit.

Officers saw a garage door opener that the mother said had belonged to Parker Mays, but he’d previously claimed that he’d lost it. However, the mother reportedly said Parker Mays knew the code to a keypad that also controls the garage door.

Lawrence police reportedly saw Parker Mays return to his apartment in Lawrence at 4 p.m., and he was taken into custody as he carried a trash bag outside, according to the affidavit. LPD officers confirmed blood on the inside of the driver’s door of his van, according to the affidavit.

When detectives tried to interview Parker Mays, “All he would say is that he denied involvement with Layne’s death and the City of Baldwin had moved,” according to the affidavit.

A medical examiner reportedly found that Layne Mays had suffered deep lacerations, but the cause of her death was determined to be manual strangulation.

A Journal-World review of Douglas County Jail booking records going back to 2014 shows only one previous arrest of Mays in Lawrence, on Feb. 3, 2018. He was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage to property following a protest downtown. Lawrence police told the Journal-World at the time that Mays kicked a truck, climbed on top of it, fell off and kicked it again.

Johnson County Jail records indicate that Parker Mays’ next court date will be a preliminary hearing on March 19. The judge in his case has ordered a competency evaluation to determine whether he can stand trial and assist in his own defense, court records show.

As of Thursday morning, Parker Mays was being held in Johnson County Jail on $1 million cash or surety bond, according to jail records.

Contact Mackenzie Clark

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