Thursday, October 23, 2014

Judge in quadruple homicide case OKs closing next hearing to the public

By ABBY ECKEL, Herald Staff Writer | 1/16/2014

An evidentiary hearing set for mid-February in a quadruple homicide case will be closed to the media and public.

Franklin County District Judge Thomas H. Sachse granted a motion filed by the prosecution team of Victor Braden, deputy attorney general for the state of Kansas, Stephen Hunting, Franklin County attorney, and James Ward, assistant Franklin County attorney, to close the Feb. 13 hearing in the Kyle T. Flack, 28, capital murder case. Ronald Evans, Flack’s court-appointed lawyer, did not object to closing the hearing.

Flack has been charged in connection with the murder of three adults and an 18-month-old girl in early May 2013. If convicted, he could face the death penalty. Three adult bodies were found May 6 and May 7 at a residence at 3197 Georgia Road, west of Ottawa. The infant’s body was discovered about dusk May 11 in Osage County by an Osage County Sheriff’s deputy.

Flack was arrested by Franklin County Sheriff’s officers May 9 after being apprehended in Emporia.

Though Evans did not object to closing the evidentiary hearing, he told Judge Sasche he was weary of unwanted publicity that might come from a closed proceeding. Evans is head of the Kansas Death Penalty Defense Unit in Topeka.

“I don’t object to [the hearing being closed],” Evans said Thursday morning during the status conference. “I would expect this would draw some response from media lawyers if we start closing hearings. Sometimes it generates more publicity than otherwise, and we’d like to try this case in this county. I don’t want to stir up publicity that I’m later going to object to or at least the effects of publicity in a motion to change venues.”

Sachse said the evidentiary hearing would remain closed “subject to any challenges by the media.”

The prosecution team also requested a signed order from Sachse that would require two cell phone providers — previously issued subpoenas for the production of business records — to supply information to the prosecution and fully comply with the subpoena so that it will be self-authenticating, Ward said. 

The signed order was granted to the prosecution and the next hearing set for 3 p.m. Feb. 13 in Franklin County District Court, 301 S. Main St., Ottawa.

Flack has been charged with two counts of capital murder, four counts of first-degree murder, rape and criminal possession of a firearm in the deaths of Steven White, 31, Andrew Stout, 30, Kaylie Bailey, 21, and her 18-month-old daughter, Lana Bailey. Authorities have not released details about their deaths, but have said a gun was used in the commission of the crimes.

Flack remains in Franklin County Jail, 305 S. Main St., Ottawa, on $10 million bond.

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