Witness testifies about seeing 14-year-old friend shot; Snapchat messages show defendant repeatedly using N-word, threatening violence

photo by: Chris Conde/Journal-World

Derrick Del Reed is pictured at his preliminary hearing in Douglas County District Court on Aug. 14, 2023. Reed is charged with murder in the shooting death of 14-year-old Kamarjay Shaw outside of Reed's home on March 18, 2023.

A Douglas County judge on Monday began hearing evidence to determine whether a teenager will stand trial for the murder of a 14-year-old boy, including testimony from a teenager who provided an eyewitness account of the shooting and Snapchat messages of the defendant repeatedly using the N-word and threatening to kill.

The witness took the stand Monday at the preliminary hearing of Derrick Del Reed, 18, who is charged with one count of first-degree murder for allegedly shooting Kamarjay Shaw, of Lawrence, on March 18 in the 1300 block of Maple Lane. Shaw is Black, and Reed is white. Reed, who was 17 at the time of the shooting, is being tried as an adult.

The prosecution first called a 17-year-old boy who said he had been with Shaw since about noon that day. The boy said that he and a group of friends were at an apartment near Reed’s house in the 1300 block of Maple Lane. He testified that a girl who had been following and harassing Shaw and his friends all day invited them to Reed’s to fight.

The boy testified that Reed, once they arrived, invited Shaw and a group of his friends into Reed’s backyard to fight but Shaw and his group declined and started to walk away. As the group was leaving, the boy testified that Reed had retrieved a gun and shot at the group, striking Shaw in the back as the group ran away. The boy said that after the first shot rang out he turned back and saw Reed with a gun, though he testified that he was not wearing his prescription glasses that day.

The boy said that the group retreated back to the nearby apartment and applied pressure to Shaw’s wound to stop the bleeding. He said he called his uncle while others called Shaw’s mother and 911.

photo by: Chris Conde/Journal-World

Defense attorney Mark Hartman points to his back, referencing where the victim was allegedly shot during Derrick Del Reed’s preliminary hearing in Douglas County District Court on Aug. 14, 2023. Reed is charged with murder in the shooting death of 14-year-old Kamarjay Shaw.

After Shaw was taken by ambulance, the boy said he was taken against his will to the police station in handcuffs and he was questioned by Detective Kimberlee Nicholson. The boy said he wanted to go with Shaw to the hospital but was detained by police instead.

The state presented video of the interview with the boy and Nicholson. In it the boy asks Nicholson for a piece of paper to write a note but clarifies that he is not giving a written statement.

Reed’s defense attorney, Mark Hartman, asked the boy what he wrote on the note.

“God forbid more people die outside of jail than in it,” the boy testified as to what he wrote on the note.

In the video, the boy reiterates that he does not want to provide a statement.

“If I get killed, I’m haunting the (expletive) out of all y’all,” the boy told Nicholson in the video.

The boy then told Nicholson that he saw a few other men at Reed’s the day of the shooting.

Nicholson then took the stand and said that the boy wrote something else altogether during the interview. She said that he wrote “I know everything,” or something to that effect, before he wadded up the paper and ate it.

photo by: Chris Conde/Journal-World

Senior District Attorney Ricardo Leal confers with Chief District Attorney Jennifer Tatum during a preliminary hearing for Derrick Del Reed in Douglas County District Court on Aug. 14, 2023. Reed is charged with first-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of 14-year-old Kamarjay Shaw.

Nicholson said that the boy then started referencing a video game, Grand Theft Auto. Nicholson said she believed that the boy was telling her facts from the incident in the context of the game but the boy was not ready to give a full statement and most of what he said confused her.

Grand Theft Auto is a popular video game that focuses on gangs and gun violence.

Nicholson said that the boy showed little emotion during the interview until he learned that Shaw had died of his wound. She said that the boy then started screaming and crying and throwing his body against the walls and table — so much so that other officers came into the room thinking that the boy and Nicholson were fighting, she said.

Nicholson said he calmed down after about 10 minutes and they continued the interview, but after they finished the boy continued to cry.

Nicholson then testified about Snapchat messages that Reed allegedly sent the morning of the shooting. The messages were exchanged with a witness who, according to prosecutors, has refused to appear in court to testify. The court has issued a material witness warrant for that person to appear.

photo by: Chris Conde/Journal-World

Detective Kimberlee Nicholson testifies at a preliminary hearing for Derrick Del Reed on Aug. 14, 2023, in Douglas County District Court. Reed is charged with first-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of 14-year-old Kamarjay Shaw.

In those messages, Reed, whose handle includes the word “whiteboy,” repeatedly uses the N-word and says that he is saving to buy a gun, and in a later message he says he is tired of fighting with Shaw and his friends and is ready to start shooting.

“I’m gonna let them try some funny (expletive) …Them (N-word) are dead fr(for real)” and “I see a whole lotta dead (N-word),” the Snapchat messages — read by Nicholson from a projection screen — said.

Nicholson said the messages were sent around 8:45 a.m. the day of the shooting, at least eight hours before the shooting is believed to have happened around 5 p.m.

Nicholson said that Shaw was at least 190 feet, and possibly as much as 256 feet, away from Reed’s front door when he was shot. Hartman asked Nicholson if that was an easy shot with a handgun, and she said that it was not. Hartman asked what in Nicholson’s investigation showed that Reed intended to kill anyone.

“Your client fired into a crowd,” Nicholson replied, and that showed the intent to kill.

After Nicholson’s testimony, Hartman said that he would need another day for his defense witnesses. He said that he wanted to question Shaw’s father, LaTouche Shaw, but LaTouche was “out of town” and it was unclear when he would return.

“I talked to him on the phone and he said he was in a subway. At first, I thought he meant the restaurant, but then I heard noise in the background and determined he was on a real subway,” Hartman said.

LaTouche allegedly told prosecutors that a witness who testified at Reed’s immunity hearing told LaTouche that he did not see who the shooter was even though he said in court that he did. Chief Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Tatum said that witness later recanted that statement but Hartman insists that the court hear it from LaTouche, who has been subpoenaed.

Pokorny scheduled the second half of the preliminary hearing for Sept. 1 with the same attendance and decorum restrictions in place. At that hearing Hartman plans to present another witness in addition to LaTouche Shaw and Pokorny will then rule whether Reed should go to trial on the murder charge.

Reed is currently in custody at the Douglas County Jail and is being held on a $500,000 cash or surety bond. He tried to gain immunity from prosecution via a self-defense claim, but Pokorny ruled last month that he was not entitled to immunity.

photo by: Chris Conde/Journal-World

Judge Sally Pokorny is pictured during a preliminary hearing for Derrick Del Reed on Aug. 14, 2023, in Douglas County District Court. Reed is accused of killing Kamarjay Shaw, 14, with a handgun.


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