Jury selection begins for teen charged with murder in shooting death of 14-year-old

photo by: Chris Conde/Journal-World

Derrick Del Reed is pictured during a hearing on Feb. 16, 2024. Reed is charged with first-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of 14-year-old Kamarjay Shaw on March 18, 2023.

Dozens of Douglas County residents were subjected to numerous questions on Monday about the justice system and what they know about a murder case involving the death of a 14-year-old boy as part of the jury selection process began for the teen accused of shooting him.

The teen, Derrick Del Reed, 18, of Lawrence is charged with one felony count of first-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of Kamarjay Shaw, 14, of Lawrence, on March 18, 2023, in the 1300 block of Maple Lane, as the Journal-World reported.

Evidence in the trial is set to begin on Wednesday but prosecutors and the defense spent most of Monday, and will continue on Tuesday, trying to select at least 15 people who can serve on the jury. That’s 12 regular jurors and three alternates in case another juror cannot make it through the entire trial.

Jury selection was held in the old courthouse across the lawn from the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center where the district courtrooms are housed. The questions residents were asked by the attorneys were directly related to the case and whether or not someone had read the news about it or knew the people involved, but other questions related to how a person understood the law or constitutional rights. Several panel members were dismissed after telling the court that they knew the parties involved or had already made a decision about the case.

Reed’s attorney, Mark Hartman, proposed different hypotheticals about what could happen at trial and asked the panel of potential jurors whether or not they would judge a person solely on their demeanor in court, like if Reed was nervous and twitchy or “stonefaced” and silent. The panel all agreed, nodding together, that they wouldn’t judge Reed based solely on his physical presence at trial.

Hartman also asked if everyone understood that the burden of proof was on the state and why that was. One member of the panel said he thought that the state would have too great an advantage otherwise and another said it could lead to even more wrongful convictions than there already are.

At the end of his questioning, Hartman gave the panel an opportunity to ask him some questions. One woman raised her hand and said that they were told the jury should be a panel of Reed’s peers that was a cross section of the community but she had noticed she was the only Black person on the panel.

Hartman said that it was not by design and that up until this point in the process, he and the prosecution have no involvement in who is chosen to serve. He said that the selection is taken in part at random from anyone in the county who has a valid ID and has registered to vote. The woman said she was satisfied by Hartman’s response.

The trial will begin on Wednesday and will not be broadcast on Youtube. For those who wish to attend, the court has established a strict protocol in light of a disturbance that happened early in the case that resulted in a lockdown of the Judicial Center.

Attendees will be screened before entering the courtroom at each recess or break. Seating is first come, first served and doors will open at 8 a.m. for the proceedings to begin at 9 a.m. By leaving the courtroom, a person will forfeit their seat. No cell phones will be allowed in the courtroom. No food or drinks are allowed. The court asks for total silence from attendees during the proceedings.

Any violations of the rules set out by the court may result in ejection from the trial and if the court must remove three or more people then the courtroom will be closed to everyone for the remainder of the trial.


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