Witness testifies about being ‘terrified’ after man allegedly brought gun to Lawrence workplace, made threat after being fired

photo by: Chris Conde/ Journal-World

Marquis Deshan Lee is pictured during his preliminary hearing on May 16, 2023, in Douglas County District Court.

A witness testified on Tuesday that he could have been first in line to be shot if the worst had happened when a Lawrence man allegedly brought a gun to his former workplace the day after he was fired.

The man, Marquis Deshan Lee, 48, is charged in Douglas County District Court with one felony count of criminal threat and one felony count of possession of a firearm by a felon, according to charging documents. The charges relate to an incident on Feb. 17 at Horizon PSI at 1101 Horizon Drive, an industrial welding shop.

During a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, a former co-worker of Lee’s testified that he and Lee were hired around the same time a few months before the incident. He said they were friendly and worked in similar positions in shipping and receiving in the welding shop.

The witness said he worked about 10 feet from the entrance to the shop and was the first to see Lee come in the door, which he said was odd because Lee had been fired the day before for allegedly making inappropriate comments about a woman in the workplace.

“I gave him a handshake. He was pretty sweaty, but it was a cool evening,” the witness testified.

The witness said that Lee walked through the shop and greeted a few more employees, then went to the work area of the woman Lee had allegedly made comments about before being fired. Lee then returned to the witness near the door to the shop, the witness said.

“He (Lee) said ‘nice to meet you,’ and he pulled up his shirt and said ‘that [expletive] is lucky she isn’t here today’ and left,” the witness said.

The witness said that when Lee pulled up his shirt he saw a black pistol sticking out of Lee’s pants. Lee then left the shop and the witness locked the door behind him and called his manager. The manager instructed him to call 911, the witness said.

Assistant District Attorney Christen Secrest asked the witness how he felt after it happened, and the witness said that it “terrified” him and that he was “glad the woman wasn’t there.”

“It isn’t a normal thing to see (a gun) or to hear someone speak that way. He did not appear to be in a great state of mind,” the witness testified, saying again that Lee was dripping with sweat.

“What’s to say he doesn’t open fire? What’s to say he doesn’t come back and I’m the first person in the way?” the witness said.

Lee’s defense attorney, Nicholas Hayes, asked if there were any surveillance cameras that recorded the incident. The witness replied that the shop is equipped with cameras but it was discovered after the incident that most of those cameras were not functional due to wiring issues.

Lawrence police officer Steven Koenig testified that he responded to the call at the welding shop and took the witness’s statement before going to Lee’s home in the 1400 block of Coventry Manor, where two other officers were engaged in a physical altercation with Lee. Police said at the time of Lee’s arrest they had to subdue Lee with a stun gun, as the Journal-World reported.

Another officer, Taylor Zook, testified that he searched Lee’s apartment and found a handgun wrapped in a towel near the bathroom. Hayes asked Zook if he knew for sure that the gun belonged to Lee or if it could have belonged to other people living in the apartment. Zook said he could not be certain who the gun belonged to but he believed it belonged to Lee.

After the testimony, Secrest asked the court for a continuance to give the state time to receive paperwork from California that reportedly shows that Lee has a prior felony conviction and cannot possess a firearm.

Judge Amy Hanley granted the continuance until June 16 and said she would rule then on whether Lee would stand trial.

Lee is currently free on a $2,500 own-recognizance bond, meaning he was not required to put down any money to be released from jail but may be charged that amount if he fails to appear in court. Lee was ordered to wear a GPS monitoring device upon his release, according to the jail’s booking log.

Marquis Deshan Lee, left, and his attorney, Nicholas Hayes, are pictured during Lee’s preliminary hearing on May 16, 2023, in Douglas County District Court.


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