Friday, November 21, 2014

Judge could rule on defendants statements

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 8/20/2014

A district judge could issue a ruling Aug. 29 on whether statements defendant Kyle T. Flack made to investigators about one of the killings in a spring 2013 quadruple homicide can be admitted as evidence in his capital murder case.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Flack, 29, in a spring 2013 quadruple homicide at a rural home west of Ottawa. The trial is set for fall 2015 in Franklin County District Court, 301 S. Main St., Ottawa.

A district judge could issue a ruling Aug. 29 on whether statements defendant Kyle T. Flack made to investigators about one of the killings in a spring 2013 quadruple homicide can be admitted as evidence in his capital murder case.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Flack, 29, in a spring 2013 quadruple homicide at a rural home west of Ottawa. The trial is set for fall 2015 in Franklin County District Court, 301 S. Main St., Ottawa.

Prosecutors have filed a motion asking the court to admit statements Flack made into evidence. The prosecution’s motion has been sealed by the court, and Stephen Hunting, Franklin County attorney, said after a hearing in early June he could not discuss the motion because it was sealed.

Flack faces capital murder and other charges in connection with the spring 2013 quadruple homicide at 3197 Georgia Road, west of Ottawa. Three adult bodies were found on the property May 6 and May 7. The fourth, that of an 18-month-old girl, was discovered May 11 in a creek near the Osage-Franklin County line. Flack was arrested May 8 in Emporia, where one victim’s car also was recovered.

Flack faces one count of capital murder in connection with the deaths of Kaylie Bailey, 21, and her 18-month-old daughter, Lana Leigh Bailey. Kaylie Bailey’s body was discovered May 7 in the master bedroom of the modular home on the Georgia Road property. Her daughter’s body was recovered May 11 from Tequa Creek in Osage County, near the Osage-Franklin County line, but the medical examiner in the case testified during the preliminary hearing that Lana was killed in the same bedroom as her mother at about the same time.

Flack faces one count of first degree murder in the death of Steven White, who investigators say was killed first — sometime between April 20 and April 28, 2013. White’s body was discovered in a detached garage on the property. The defendant also faces one count of first degree murder in the death of Andrew Stout. Stout’s body was found in the same bedroom where the shootings of Kaylie Bailey and Lana Bailey took place.

A medical examiner testified during Flack’s March 11-12 preliminary hearing that all four victims died as the result of shotgun wounds.

Flack also faces one felony count of criminal possession of a firearm and one misdemeanor count of sexual battery.

Flack reportedly made comments to investigators about shooting one of the victims. Those comments came to light during Flack’s preliminary hearing.

During the preliminary hearing, Det. Jeremi Thompson, with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, said he was conducting an interview with Flack May 8, 2013, at the Ottawa Police Department when Flack told him that Andrew Stout and Steven White had been feuding because White had not been paying rent to stay at Stout’s farm. After White left Stout’s residence on that day in late April, Stout grabbed a shotgun and followed White out of the home to the detached garage, Thompson testified that Flack told him. Thompson said Flack then told him that Stout shot White in the chest and that White fell to the ground. Stout handed the shotgun to Flack, Thompson testified. Thompson said Flack told him that White was still alive so he fired a shot and killed him.

“Mr. Flack said, ‘I shot him, he dies,’” Thompson told Vic Braden, Kansas deputy attorney general who is a member of the prosecution team in the case, during the defendant’s preliminary hearing.

Thompson testified that the interview had lasted about four hours, starting at about 11:30 p.m. May 8, 2013, and ending around 3:30 a.m. when Flack requested a lawyer and the interview stopped. Before the interview concluded, Thompson said Flack told him that he and Stout covered White’s body with a tarp in the garage and placed cinder blocks on top of the tarp.

Ronald Evans, a Topeka-based court-appointed lawyer who is one of Flack’s defense attorneys, challenged the validity of Flack’s interview.

“Isn’t it correct that 23 minutes into the interview [which was before Flack described White’s death], Mr. Flack said, ‘Don’t you think I ought to get a lawyer?’” Evans asked Thompson.

“Yes, something to that effect,” Thompson told Evans.

Evans, chief attorney for the Topeka-based Kansas Death Penalty Defense Unit, which represents defendants accused of capital murder crimes, argued that Flack’s statement was in fact a request for an attorney.

Thompson said he took it as Flack asking him for advice, and Thompson said he doesn’t provide legal advice.

Tim Frieden, one of Flack’s defense attorneys, filed a motion Aug. 8 trying to block Flack’s statements to Det. Thompson from being admitted as evidence at Flack’s trial.

“The questioning at 23:15 hours May 8 was initiated by law enforcement. Shortly after this interrogation began, Mr. Flack said ‘Should I get a lawyer, honestly?’ and the law enforcement response was, ‘I can’t advise you of what you should or shouldn’t do,” Frieden’s motion reads.

The narrative in the defense team’s motion continued: “Defense asserts this is an invocation and questioning should have ceased ...”

The motion cites several previous cases which Flack’s defense team said addressed the issue of when an interrogation should cease.

The motion also addressed other law enforcement interrogations of Flack, from the time police made initial contact with him in Emporia.

During one of these interrogations, the defense motion asserts: “After waiting two and one half hours the interrogation began. No one asked Mr. Flack when was the last time he slept or if he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if he had any disabilities mental or physical. The next day in his interview [Flack] states he was ‘high’ nor had he slept much.”

Flack’s defense attorneys objected to Flack’s statements being admitted during the preliminary hearing, and the defense team has not changed its position.

The defense’s Aug. 8 motion concluded by stating the defense requests the court deny the prosecutor’s motion to admit Flack’s statements as evidence at his trial.

The court is scheduled to take up the prosecution and defense teams’ motions during Flack’s next hearing 9 a.m. Aug. 29 in Franklin County District Court. District Judge Eric W. Godderz is presiding over the case.

Flack remains in the Franklin County Adult Detention Center on $10 million bond.

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