Defense wants profile picture of 14-year-old homicide victim pointing gun admitted as evidence in murder case, along with his history of gun-crime charges; he also seeks immunity for witnesses

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.

A defense attorney filed a motion this week asking for a picture of a 14-year-old homicide victim pointing a gun to be admitted into evidence along with the boy’s history of criminal charges involving firearms, and the attorney in a separate motion has also asked the court to dismiss the case altogether if the state, without good reason, refuses to grant immunity to crucial eyewitnesses.

The defendant in the case, Derrick Del Reed, 18, of Lawrence, faces one felony count of first-degree murder in Douglas County District Court in connection with the shooting death of Kamarjay Shaw on March 18 outside of Reed’s home at 1318 Maple Lane. Judge Sally Pokorny earlier this year denied a motion from Reed to be immune from prosecution based on Kansas’ stand your ground law, as the Journal-World has reported.

Reed’s attorney, Mark Hartman, submitted a photograph in his motion that he says comes from Shaw’s Instagram profile. The photo shows Shaw holding a black and green pistol pointed directly at the camera.

photo by: Douglas County court records

A motion filed by defense attorney Mark Hartman shows what he says is a profile picture of 14-year-old shooting victim Kamarjay Shaw pointing a gun. Hartman represents Derrick Del Reed,18, who is charged with first-degree murder. Hartman has argued that the photo should be admitted into evidence to show Reed’s perception of Shaw prior to the shooting.

“…it is telling that the photograph in question is Kamarjay Shaw’s profile picture. … Because a profile picture is oftentimes the only snippet of information anyone will review when they happen upon a social media profile,” Hartman says in the motion.

In addition to the photo, Hartman is asking the court to allow evidence of Shaw’s prior criminal charges.

As the Journal-World has reported, Shaw had not been convicted, but was charged in April of 2021 with one felony count of aggravated robbery for allegedly stealing a cellphone from another teenager and harming the teenager in the process, according to charging documents. In June of 2021, he was charged with two felony counts of aggravated assault for allegedly threatening a 13-year-old and a 15-year-old with a gun, according to court records. In the same incident, he was also charged with possession of a firearm with a barrel less than 12 inches long, a misdemeanor. He was ordered to house arrest, detention day schooling and GPS monitoring, and court records say that in March 2022 he was charged with removing his GPS ankle monitor, another felony. Then, in December 2022, he was charged with felony criminal threat for allegedly threatening a Douglas County Youth Services worker.

Hartman is asking the court to allow evidence regarding the robbery and aggravated assault charges.

He argues that the photo and history of charges could shed light on Reed’s state of mind when he is alleged to have shot Shaw.

“Kamarjay Shaw’s use of a photo brandishing a firearm aimed directly at the person viewing his profile picture speaks volumes into how Kamarjay Shaw wanted others to perceive him,” Hartman wrote.

Hartman has also asked the court to dismiss the charges against Reed because the state has refused to grant immunity to four teenage girls who were eyewitnesses to the shooting.

As the Journal-World has reported, two of the girls, ages 14 and 15, are each charged with one felony count of obstruction of apprehension and one count of interference with law enforcement by concealing or altering evidence. The other two girls, ages 15 and 17, are each charged with one felony count of obstruction. Two of the girls were called to testify during Reed’s immunity-from-prosecution hearing, but both invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

One of the girls who was not called to testify is alleged by other witnesses to have invited Shaw and his friends to Reed’s house for a fight.

In Hartman’s motion, he says that one of the girls who was not called to testify told police that Shaw told the occupants of Reed’s home that he had a gun and was “going to blow it” and that while she did not see Shaw with a gun she saw that Shaw lifted his shirt and “tugged at something from his pocket while referring to the gun.”

Hartman wrote that another of the girls, who was called to testify, provided police with a similar statement, saying “the group of kids who were in the street taunting those inside 1318 Maple Lane were holding their waistbands, thereby leading her to believe they were in possession of guns.”

A third girl, who was called to testify, told police that one of the boys with Shaw “possessed a gun in the street while he and his crew were provoking those inside 1318 Maple Lane.”

Hartman says that the girls were charged for actions taken after the shooting that the state believes interfered with the investigation and the state has refused the girls immunity against those charges “… thereby rendering the Eyewitnesses unavailable to testify.”

Hartman argues that he does not believe the state would withhold immunity from the witnesses if they were going to provide testimony that would help convict Reed.

Hartman says in the motion that the charges were filed against the girls only after Hartman had issued them subpoenas to testify.

“If the Court cannot in good faith conclude that the State would have taken the same actions had the Eyewitnesses provided incriminating statements about Derrick Reed’s culpability, then it is necessarily true that the decisions to charge the Eyewitnesses and to refuse to grant them immunity amounts to an effort to distort the fact-finding process,” Hartman wrote.

Hartman says that the state, in preventing the girls from testifying at Reed’s immunity hearing, did so for “the explicit purpose of blocking Derrick Reed’s ability to put on evidence critical to his defense.”

He says that the “miniscule” charges against the girls pale in comparison with the murder charge that Reed faces and that granting the girls immunity should have been an easy decision in regard to Reed’s right to a fair trial.

Hartman concludes his motion by requesting an evidentiary hearing for the state to explain why it won’t grant the girls immunity, and if the state cannot justify its decision beyond the “express purpose of distorting the judicial fact-finding process,” then the charge against Reed should be dismissed.

Reed is currently scheduled for trial on Nov. 27. He is being held on a $500,000 cash or surety bond. A hearing to address Hartman’s motions had not been scheduled as of Wednesday afternoon.

Hartman, during the course of Reed’s proceedings, recently exposed that the Douglas County Jail has been recording privileged phone calls between clients and attorneys, possibly dating back as far as 2011, after the District Attorney’s Office heard part of a call between Reed and Hartman. Hartman has subpoenaed records from the jail’s call logs dating back to 2010. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office released a statement after the recordings were discovered that it is conducting an audit on its telephone system to identify what calls were recorded and whether any of those calls were listened to.

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.


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