‘Not a simple run of the mill firearm,’ judge says, denying release for boy charged in shooting death of Lawrence girl

photo by: Contributed

Brianna Higgins

A Johnson County judge on Monday denied the release of a boy charged with murder in the shooting death of a 15-year-old Lawrence girl and set a hearing to determine whether the boy will be tried as an adult.

The 17-year-old boy, Davon D. Washington, of Kansas City, Missouri, is charged in Johnson County Juvenile Court with one felony count of second-degree unintentional but reckless murder and one misdemeanor count of a juvenile in possession of a firearm, according to charging documents.

The shooting is alleged to have occurred on Jan. 19 near the 16900 block of West 127th Street in Olathe, as the Journal-World reported. Brianna Higgins, a sophomore at Lawrence High School, was shot and was then driven to Olathe Medical Center around 11 p.m.; she was declared dead a short time later.

Washington appeared via Zoom from the Johnson County Juvenile Detention Center, and his attorney, Mark Hartman, asked the court to reconsider Washington’s detention. He said that Washington was a lifelong resident of the greater Kansas City area and he would be able to live with his mother on the Missouri side if he were released. He said that Washington has no prior convictions or arrests and that the murder charge filed by the state does not allege that he intentionally injured anyone.

“He’s not here because he’s gone out of his way to harm someone,” Hartman said.

The state, represented by Assistant District Attorney Don Hymer, objected to Washington’s release and said that the juvenile intake report that recommended Washington’s detention lists numerous problems he has had, such as behavioral disruptions at home and at school, including being kicked out of high school for acts of violence.

Hymer said Washington represents an ongoing threat to the community in the form of juveniles carrying weapons — and in Washington’s case, the gun had an “extended amount of ammunition.”

Judge Brenda Cameron said that after reviewing the juvenile intake report, she had to agree with the state.

“Much in that report is very concerning,” Cameron said.

She said what had happened was the “worst that could happen,” resulting in the death of a girl. She said that the details of the incident were concerning because of the type of gun that Washington allegedly used. The type of gun wasn’t disclosed at the hearing.

“Not a simple run of the mill firearm for a juvenile to possess,” Cameron said before adding, “He’s absolutely going to be remanded.”

Cameron then scheduled a hearing on April 22-23 for the parties to argue whether Washington should be charged as an adult.


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