One of two murder charges dropped in shooting of Baker student
One of two felony murder charges was dropped today against a Lawrence teenager charged in last month's shooting at a house in the 1300 block of Delaware.
Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson said the charge was dismissed because additional investigation since the incident resulted in a clearer picture of the circumstances and order of events that occurred early on June 7.
"When we originally had the case, we didn't have all the information into the District Attorney's office as far as the exact occurrences and the exact steps in the occurrences of the killing of the two individuals, so we charged it, and charged both counts," he said. "Since then, additional investigation has been done. We've reviewed the situation and in accordance with Kansas state law, or case law under the Kansas Supreme Court, we have to drop the second charge."
The teen, 16-year-old Kellam Jones, is still charged as a juvenile with one count of felony murder and one count of attempted aggravated robbery.
Police and prosecutors allege that Jones and an accomplice, Gage Hauk, 18, McLouth, had gone to 1311 Del. to commit a robbery. Gunfire erupted, killing Hauk and the occupant of the house, Roland Klundt, 20, a student at Baker University.
Jones was initially charged under the felony murder law with both deaths. But Branson noted on Wednesday that state law says that a felon may not be convicted of felony murder for the killing of his co-felon caused by the lawful acts of a victim of aggravated robbery.
"There's kind of a quirk in our felony murder case law, if you will. It provides that essentially that if the person that does the justifiable killing is doing so in a lawful manner, in this case, defending their home, then the co-defendant felon cannot be held accountable for that killing," Branson explained.
A hearing to determine if Jones will be tried as an adult on the remaining charges has been continued to Aug. 8.