Plea hearing set for teen charged in shooting death of Lawrence girl

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A plea hearing for a Kansas City teen charged in the shooting death of a Lawrence girl is set for next month, according to online court records.

A 17-year-old is charged with reckless murder in the second degree in addition to juvenile firearm possession in connection with the death of Brianna Higgins, 15. The charge alleges that the teen acted “unintentionally but recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.”

A hearing for the judge to determine whether the teen should be prosecuted as an adult, which had been scheduled for Monday morning, was canceled.

via USD 497 Brianna Higgins

The shooting occurred on the evening of Jan. 19 in Olathe near the 16900 block of West 127th Street. Brianna was rushed to the hospital with a gunshot wound, and although hospital staff and local police attempted to take life-saving measures, she did not survive.

Few details about the shooting have been released to the public. 

The teen’s defense attorney is Mark Hartman, who also represented Derrick D. Reed in connection with the March 2023 shooting death of 14-year-old Kamarjay Shaw. At the conclusion of his trial in March 2024, Reed was acquitted of all charges. 

Kamarjay and Brianna were close friends, and Brianna had been present for a court hearing in Reed’s case. Hartman previously said there’s no connection between his representation of this teen and his representation of Reed.

Hartman responded to an email inquiry Monday morning but did not share information about why Monday’s hearing was canceled or what the next hearing would be about. Court records indicate it will be a plea hearing. 

The teen is set to appear before Judge Brenda Cameron at 11:15 a.m. Wednesday, May 8 at the Johnson County Courthouse, 150 W. Santa Fe St. in Olathe.

Brianna was a sophomore at Lawrence High School.

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Natasha Torkzaban (she/her), a contributor to The Lawrence Times, is a current senior at Lawrence High School. She was an editor-in-chief of The Free Press at Free State High School before becoming an editor-in-chief for The Budget at Lawrence High School for 2023-24. Read her work for the Times here.

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