Lawrence man waives preliminary hearing, pleads not guilty to interfering with police at standoff

photo by: Chris Conde/Journal-World

Phillip Michael Eravi is pictured at a hearing on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023, in Douglas County District Court. Eravi was charged with one felony count of interfering with a law enforcement officer.

A Lawrence man accused of interfering with police at a crime scene last spring waived his preliminary hearing Thursday in Douglas County District Court and entered a plea of not guilty.

The man, Phillip Michael Eravi, 53, faces one count of interference with law enforcement. The charge is a low-level felony with a sentencing range between five and 17 months in prison if convicted, depending on Eravi’s criminal history.

The charge is in connection with an incident that began around 11 p.m. on May 19 in the 1900 block of Heatherwood Drive in western Lawrence. Police were engaged in a standoff with Joshua Evan Townsend, 48, of Lawrence, who is alleged to have exchanged gunfire with a man in the area.

Officers were taking cover and using a loudspeaker to communicate with Townsend when, just before 2 a.m., Eravi walked into an area that police were trying to keep clear because it was in the direct line of fire from the residence, Sgt. Drew Fennelly with the Lawrence Police Department said after the incident.

Eravi was given several orders to leave but refused, police said. An officer attempted to physically remove him, but Eravi became verbally and physically confrontational, causing several officers to leave their protected positions, exposing them to potential gunfire during the standoff, Fennelly said.

Judge Amy Hanley set a Dec. 11 trial date for Eravi, who is represented by attorney Angela Keck. Eravi bonded out of jail shortly after the incident for $750 cash, according to court records.


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