A Douglas County jury on Friday convicted Steven A. Drake, 25, of Lawrence, of voluntary manslaughter in a fatal 2017 shooting.
Drake shot and killed 26-year-old Bryce Sterling Holladay, of Lawrence, on Sept. 19, 2017 in the doorway of a home in the 2000 block of West 27th Terrace.
Any question of whether Drake shot Holladay was answered when Drake reported the shooting to dispatch, or when officers arrived moments later and Drake walked toward them with his hands up, taking responsibility.
But the jury had to determine whether the killing was first-degree premeditated murder, as prosecutors alleged, and as Drake was charged; whether Drake’s account of defending his home and the people in it was true; or something in between.
Drake had been held in custody of the Douglas County jail on $750,000 cash or surety bond since the night of the shooting — about 4 years and 5 months. Judge Kay Huff revoked his bond after the verdict.
Drake is set for sentencing at 4 p.m. March 30. Under state statutes, he faces between 4 years and 7 months up to about 20 1/2 years in prison, depending on his criminal history. Voluntary manslaughter is a level-3 felony.
The Times was unable to be present for Drake’s trial in Douglas County District Court.
Drake’s defense attorneys, Hatem Chahine and Michael Clarke, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment for this article Friday.
Douglas County District Attorney Suzanne Valdez and Deputy District Attorney Joshua Seiden prosecuted the case.
“The Holladay family lost a beloved son, and we hope this verdict can give them some closure,” Valdez said in a news release Friday afternoon. “But many people have been changed forever because of Mr. Drake’s actions – including the witnesses and their families and Mr. Drake himself. This office will not tolerate violent gun crime.”
A separate case in which Drake was charged with vehicular homicide, a class A misdemeanor, was set for jury trial in August 2021, but prosecutors dismissed the charges. The case resulted from a crash that killed Taylor Brooke Lister, 24, of Lecompton, in November 2016.
Don’t miss a beat … Click here to sign up for our email newsletters
Mackenzie Clark (she/her), reporter/founder of The Lawrence Times, can be reached at mclark (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.