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Teen charged in shooting death of Lawrence boy will face trial, judge rules

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An 18-year-old charged with shooting and killing a 14-year-old Lawrence boy will go to trial, a judge ruled Friday. 

Douglas County District Court Judge Sally Pokorny bound Derrick D. Reed, 18, over on his charge of first-degree murder, meaning she found probable cause during his preliminary hearing that the case should proceed to trial. 

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The conclusion of Reed’s preliminary hearing was held via Zoom on Friday. After Pokorny heard arguments from counsel, she said she agreed with prosecutors that the evidence in the light most favorable to the state was sufficient to show probable cause that Reed had committed murder with premeditation. She said other issues that Reed’s defense attorney wanted to raise could be heard during Reed’s jury trial.

Reed is charged in connection with the March shooting death of Kamarjay Shaw, 14, in Lawrence. At the time of the shooting, Reed was 17, but Pokorny has previously ruled he would be tried as an adult and would not be granted immunity from prosecution.

According to previous testimony, Kamarjay and four teen boys around 5 p.m. that Saturday, March 18, were at the apartment of a teen female friend and her sister, just around the corner from Reed’s home. Another teen girl called one of the boys via Snapchat audio and told him to come outside because Reed wanted to fight him, according to testimony. 

The group went outside, assuming it was going to be a one-on-one fist fight between Reed and Kamarjay or one of the other boys. The boys testified that they were trying to get Reed to come out to the street to fight, but Reed refused, instead trying to get the other boys to come into the house or backyard, which they refused to do. The boys were heading back to their friend’s apartment when they saw Reed come out of the house, they testified. There were two gunshots, and Kamarjay was hit while running away. (Read more from that hearing in this article.)

Lawrence police Detective Kim Nicholson has testified during previous hearings for Reed that she took measurements of the area where the shooting occurred. Based on those measurements, she said she believed Kamarjay was at least 190 feet — nearly two-thirds of a football field — away from Reed when he was shot.

During the first part of Reed’s preliminary hearing on Aug. 14, Snapchat message evidence revealed a conversation between the account law enforcement linked to Reed and an unnamed person on the morning of the shooting. Within that exchange, Reed repeatedly used the n-word and insinuated carrying out violence against others. 

Mackenzie Clark/Lawrence Times Defense attorney Mark Hartman makes an argument during a preliminary hearing for Derrick Reed, Aug. 14, 2023.

Defense attorney Mark Hartman had also called an expert from the KBI to testify about gunshot residue testing. The actual results of the testing were not shared during the Aug. 14 hearing, but Chief Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Tatum said during her arguments Friday that Pokorny had a report that indicated there was gunshot residue on Reed’s hands and the steering wheel of his vehicle. 

The preliminary hearing was continued from Aug. 14 so the defense could put on more evidence. Hartman intended to call LaTouche Shaw, Kamarjay’s father, to testify. Hartman told Pokorny that he’d received information from prosecutors that LaTouche had said witnesses during an earlier motions hearing had afterward recanted their testimony that Reed was the shooter; however, Tatum said LaTouche had later recanted that statement.

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Hartman rested his case Friday, saying he had been unable to find LaTouche in order to have him testify. He asked Pokorny to bind Reed over on a charge of second-degree murder, instead, because he said the only evidence the state suggested showed premeditation was the Snapchat message. 

Pokorny said she believed the two gunshots Reed allegedly fired was enough to bind him over on a charge of premeditated first-degree murder. 

Reed is in custody of the Douglas County jail on a $500,000 cash or surety bond. 

Hartman asked Pokorny Friday to lower the bond to $200,000. Tatum said there was video evidence to show that Reed and some other people with him had discussed turning off their phones and changing clothes after the shooting, which could indicate that he is a flight risk. Pokorny said she believes that $500,000 is appropriate for first-degree murder and denied Hartman’s motion. 

Pokorny set the case for trial to begin Nov. 27, and there will be other motions hearings in the meantime. Hartman said he might want to file a Daubert motion, which is essentially a motion to challenge the validity of an expert witness’s testimony about forensic evidence. 

All arrestees and defendants in criminal cases should be presumed not guilty unless and until they are convicted.

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Maya Hodison (she/her), equity reporter, can be reached at mhodison (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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.

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