Crime

Killing of Olathe woman and her unborn child could lead to death penalty

Man charged with killing girlfriend and their unborn child

Devonte Wash made his first court appearance Friday at the Johnson County Detention Center. Wash, of Kansas City, Kan., is charged with capital murder in the killing of his pregnant girlfriend, Ashley Harlan of Olathe.
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Devonte Wash made his first court appearance Friday at the Johnson County Detention Center. Wash, of Kansas City, Kan., is charged with capital murder in the killing of his pregnant girlfriend, Ashley Harlan of Olathe.

A Kansas City, Kan., man accused of killing his girlfriend and their unborn child made his initial court appearance Friday.

Devonte Dominique Wash, 26, is charged with capital murder in the January killing of Ashley Harlan and the boy he fathered.

The charge filed Thursday in Johnson County District Court carries only two possible penalties — life in prison with no parole or death.

Attorneys from the Kansas Death Penalty Defense Unit were appointed Friday to represent Wash, who was not required to enter a plea during the brief hearing in Johnson County District Court.

Spokeswoman for the family of Ashley Harlan thanks police and the public for bringing justice in finding her killer.

"We want to send a big thank-you to the Olathe Police Department for all their hard work in pursuing the truth and making this arrest," Nikki Chapman, a spokeswoman for Harlan's family, told reporters after the hearing. "We look forward to getting justice for Ashley and her baby boy."

Harlan, 23, was found dead on Jan. 30 at the Westerfield Townhouses off East Westerfield Place in Olathe. She was about 20 weeks into her pregnancy and was about to learn the gender of the baby, according to friends.

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Prosecutors and police have not said how she was killed. Court documents containing additional details in the case are not yet publicly available.

Wash has been accused of violence involving another woman he had a child with. In 2011 and again in 2013, he was charged in Johnson County with committing domestic battery against her. Both case were later dismissed.

In 2013, the woman filed a request for a protection order alleging that Wash had punched her multiple times, pulled her hair and slammed her to the floor. But later in the year, a judge dismissed the charges after she asked that the case be dismissed, according to court documents.

Wash, who is being held in the Johnson County Detention Center on a bond of $5 million, is scheduled back in court on May 3.

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