March 12, 2014

Judge orders Kyle Flack to stand trial in four Ottawa shotgun murders

After a day and a half of preliminary hearing testimony, District Judge Thomas Sachse found probable cause existed to try Flack, 28, on charges of capital murder, first-degree murder and illegal possession of a firearm.

A Franklin County judge on Wednesday ordered Kyle Flack to stand trial for the shotgun killings of four people, including an 18-month-old girl, at a farmhouse outside Ottawa last spring.

After a day and a half of preliminary hearing testimony, District Judge Thomas Sachse found probable cause existed to try Flack, 28, on charges of capital murder, first-degree murder and illegal possession of a firearm.

Flack’s arraignment is scheduled for April 22. If prosecutors intend to seek a death sentence for the capital charge, they have until seven days after arraignment to file notice. Franklin County Attorney Stephen Hunting said Wednesday that decision has not been made.

Forensic pathologist Erik Mitchell testified Wednesday that shotgun blasts killed Andrew Stout, 30; Steven White, 31; Kaylie Bailey, 21, of Olathe; and Bailey’s 18-month-old daughter, Lana Bailey.

The bodies of White, Stout and Kaylie Bailey were found at Stout’s rural home May 6.

The baby’s body was found five days later in a suitcase floating in a creek in Osage County, but Hunting argued Wednesday that evidence established she was killed in the bedroom where her mother’s body was found.

Bethany Stone, a DNA analyst for the Johnson County crime lab, testified that the baby’s DNA was found on several items in the bedroom, including a spent shotgun shell.

Flack is charged with capital murder in the deaths of Bailey and Lana because prosecutors say their deaths were part of the same “common scheme or course of conduct.”

Lana died from a shotgun blast to her back, Mitchell testified. Her mother died from a shot to the back of her neck.

Bailey’s body was found nude from the waist down with her hands bound behind her back. A red bandanna found around her neck had been used to gag her but was displaced by the lethal shot, Hunting argued.

“She was bound, gagged and executed there in the bedroom,” Hunting told the judge in outlining the evidence.

Based on the way Bailey was found, prosecutors charged Flack with attempted rape, but the judge ruled Wednesday that there was not enough evidence to show that, and he dismissed the charge.

Flack is charged with separate counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Stout and White.

In a statement he gave to police after his arrest May 8, Flack said Stout shot White after they argued about rent money White owed. Stout then handed the shotgun to Flack, who also shot White, Flack allegedly told detectives.

Defense attorneys had objected to allowing Flack’s statement to be introduced as evidence. According to testimony, Flack described the killing of White after he asked a detective if he should get a lawyer.

The detective testified that after he told Flack he didn’t give legal advice, Flack continued talking. Later, when Flack stated he wanted a lawyer, the interview was stopped, according to the detective.

Although Flack talked to police for about 10 hours, prosecutors only presented the portion of his statement pertaining to White’s killing. They did not say if he admitted to involvement in the other deaths.

White was found in a garage with shotgun wounds to his chest and head. Mitchell said Stout, who was found dead in the bedroom where Bailey was found, suffered at least five shotgun wounds. He also appeared to have been struck in the head by a blunt object consistent with a shotgun barrel, Mitchell testified.

Several days after the adults’ bodies were found, workers at an Emporia, Kan., trash collection facility discovered part of a shotgun. Firearms investigators for the Johnson County crime lab testified Wednesday that they were able to link the shotgun with expended shells found at the crime scene.

And Stone testified that Flack’s DNA could not be excluded as the source of DNA found on the shotgun.

Flack was arrested at a friend’s apartment in Emporia on May 8. Bailey’s car was found abandoned in that city.

Among belongings found at the apartment in a duffel bag linked to Flack were plastic zip ties similar to the one used to bind Bailey’s wrists, according to testimony.

After the preliminary hearing, Flack’s attorneys declined to comment.

Speaking briefly to reporters, prosecutors said they had only presented enough evidence to establish probable cause. They said a trial would involve much more testimony.

They also said Wednesday’s hearing was just one step in a long process.

“Criminal litigation is a marathon, not a sprint,” said Deputy Kansas Attorney General Vic Braden.

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