Post updated at 6:02 p.m. Tuesday, March 21:
A Lawrence 17-year-old charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of a 14-year-old boy is seeking immunity from prosecution, and a judge will hear that motion before the court considers prosecutors’ request to try the teen as an adult.
Derrick D. Reed, who has been in custody of the Douglas County Juvenile Detention Center since he turned himself in on Sunday, pleaded not guilty to the charge in court Tuesday via videoconferencing in Judge Pro Tem Paul Klepper’s courtroom.
Law enforcement has released little information about the circumstances of the incident, and details were not discussed during the 15-minute hearing Tuesday.
Family members of both Reed and Kamarjay were present in court and emotional.
Defense attorney Mark Hartman, of Leawood-based law firm Bath & Edmonds, filed the motion seeking immunity for Reed, giving the prosecution notice that they intend to claim self-defense.
Deputy Douglas County District Attorney Joshua Seiden filed a motion to prosecute Reed as an adult, but Hartman argued that the immunity motion should be heard first.
The documents themselves are not open for public inspection under state law, according to the district court clerk’s office, so the reasoning behind the motions is unclear.
Hartman also said he would like to hire an investigator to start knocking on doors. He said Reed does not have the financial means to retain experts and investigators. Klepper said he would consider it as part of a broader motion if Hartman files one explaining the specific reasoning for the request.
The hearing on the immunity motion is set to begin at 9 a.m. Thursday, April 20, possibly to continue into the next day. Douglas County District Court Judge Sally Pokorny will hear the motion to prosecute Reed as an adult, though that date was not yet set as of Tuesday afternoon.
Hartman did not argue against Reed remaining detained.
All arrestees and defendants in criminal cases should be presumed not guilty unless and until they are convicted.
Kamarjay’s family has launched an online fundraiser to help cover his funeral expenses. As of Tuesday afternoon, it had raised more than $13,000 of an updated $15,000 goal.
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Chloe Anderson (she/her) contributed to The Lawrence Times from August 2022 through May 2023. She is also published in Climbing magazine, Kansas Reflector and Sharp End Publishing. As a recent graduate of the University of Kansas, Chloe plans to continue her career in photography, rock climbing and writing somewhere out West.
You can view her portfolio, articles and commissioned work here. Check out more of her work for the Times here.