Tuesday, September 02, 2014

CARDER: Key interviews on quadruple killing

By DOUG CARDER, Dumping the Notebook | 3/14/2014

“Where’s the baby?”

Det. Rob Hoskins, with the Wabaunsee County Sheriff’s Office, said that was the first question he asked Kyle Trevor Flack when he and several Emporia police officers located the 28-year-old quadruple homicide suspect May 8 in an Emporia apartment.

“Where’s the baby?”

Det. Rob Hoskins, with the Wabaunsee County Sheriff’s Office, said that was the first question he asked Kyle Trevor Flack when he and several Emporia police officers located the 28-year-old quadruple homicide suspect May 8 in an Emporia apartment.

“His response was, ‘What baby?’” Hoskins testified Tuesday as the first witness called to the stand in Franklin County District Court, 301 S. Main St., Ottawa.

And so began two days of legal proceedings — an evidentiary hearing followed by a preliminary hearing — in one of the most brutal homicide cases to stain Franklin County soil.

Flack faces capital murder, first degree murder and criminal possession of a firearm charges in connection with the shotgun slayings of Kaylie Bailey, 21, her 18-month-old daughter Lana Bailey, Andrew Stout, 30, and Steven White, 31.

The bodies of Kaylie Bailey, Stout and White were discovered May 6 and May 7 at 3197 Georgia Road, west of Ottawa, where White, Flack and Stout had been living in Stout’s modular home. Kaylie Bailey was said to be romantically involved with Stout.

Lana Bailey’s body remained missing until it was discovered May 11 inside a suitcase in Tequa Creek — near the Franklin and Osage County line — three days after Hoskins found Flack staying with a friend at a large apartment complex in the 3600 block of 18th Street in Emporia and 10 days after she and her mother last had been seen May 1 in a drive-thru line at Burger King restaurant in Ottawa.

Other testimony helped pinpoint the last time each victim was seen, though Dr. Erik Mitchell, the forensics pathologist who performed the autopsies on all four bodies, said it would not be possible to pinpoint an exact time of death, because of decomposition.

From a reporter’s perspective, covering these cases is never easy. Often many questions are left unanswered at a preliminary hearing because it is the prosecutor’s job to show probable cause that the defendant committed the crimes — nothing more. In this case, District Judge Thomas H. Sachse found the prosecution provided sufficient evidence to meet that burden, with Sachse binding over Flack for trial on four of five charges, with only the attempted rape charge dismissed.

Stephen Hunting, Franklin County attorney, told reporters in a press conference after the preliminary hearing that more evidence is introduced during a jury trial than is disclosed at the preliminary hearing. This case figures to follow suit.

Some people monitoring the developments — either from the courtroom gallery, online or in the newspaper — have expressed concern that nobody knows the exact date or approximate time the victims were killed.

I have noted that the prosecution team has issued subpoenas to telecommunications companies, which presumably includes the victims’ phone records. Perhaps those records will be introduced in a jury trial to establish the last time some of the victims’ used their cell phones. Even though it was not clear if all the victims had phones, finding out the last time a cell phone was used could help establish the day a victim was killed and the last person to have contact with that victim. Most people use their cell phones at least once a day to make a call or send a text.

One of the more interesting exchanges during the two-day event did not occur at the preliminary hearing, but during an evidentiary hearing that took place Tuesday morning immediately before the start of the show-cause proceeding.

During that evidentiary hearing, Judge Sachse ruled Flack’s admission to shooting White during one of his initial interviews with law enforcement — before the defendant asked for an attorney — could be admitted into evidence during the preliminary hearing.

Det. Jeremi Thompson, with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, said he was conducting an interview with Flack May 8 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. Flack said Stout shot White in the chest and that White fell to the ground. Stout handed the shotgun to Flack, and the defendant told Thompson 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 leading the prosecution team in the case.

Thompson testified that the interview had lasted about four hours, starting at about 11:30 p.m. May 8 and ending about 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. Then they went into the house and smoked “weed,” Flack told Thompson.

Ronald Evans, a Topeka-based court-appointed lawyer who is handling Flack’s defense, 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 argued that Flack’s statement was in fact a request for an attorney.

Thompson said he took it as Flack asking him for advice.

“I don’t give legal advice,” Thompson said.

Doug Carder is The Herald’s senior writer. Email him at dcarder@ottawaherald.com

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