Four Charged In Topeka Murder Will Stand Trial

By: Suzie Gilbert Email
By: Suzie Gilbert Email

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)-- Family members of a murdered Topeka woman cried tears of joy Friday when they heard the men charged in her death will stand trial.

Shawnee County Court Judge Evelyn Wilson has ruled that four of nine defendants charged with felony murder, will be bound over for trial. The word came Friday morning.

Anceo Stovall, Ronald Wakes, Wichael Wilkins, and Kevin Wilkins Jr. will stand trial for the murder of Natalie Gibson, 40, who was gunned down in her driveway at 307 Quinton last July.

Bayate Covington, who waived his right to a preliminary hearing, and four juveniles are also charged with the crime.

Prosecutors say the group is also responsible for shooting Lori Allison, and killing a dog in a failed home invasion last summer.

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Testimony turned to gang activity Thursday as the preliminary hearing continued in the killing of Natalie Gibson.

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Four of nine defendants filed into court Thursday, the fifth who waived his right to a preliminary hearing taking the stand against the other four.

In his testimony, Bayate Covington implicated all four defendants, saying they were out to steal a flat screen TV the night Natalie Gibson was murdered. His refusal to answer questions forced defense attorneys to ask that his whole testimony, pointing the finger at their clients, be thrown out- something that didn't happen.

Covington, along with Anceo Stovall, Ronald Wakes, Michael Wilkins and Kevin Wilkins junior, are charged with first degree murder, aggravated and attempted aggravated robbery, and seven other felonies. Four minors are also charged.

Prosecutors say the nine are responsible for the death of 40-year-old Natalie Gibson, and the shooting of Lori Allison, in July. They're also accused of killing a dog in a failed home invasion in June.

Covington tried to flee the courtroom when he was on the stand last week, so Thursday he brought a stress ball to squeeze when he was angry. He told attorneys he was squeezing it on every question. He also cussed at them several times, and threatened defendants.

Covington also mentioned gang activity, saying he associated with Crips, bought his gun, and even borrowed the van he drove to the shooting, from a Mexican Mafia member.

Defense Attorneys say Covington is making up his story to get back at the defendants for jumping him.

Closing statements from defense attorneys will continue Friday morning in Shawnee County Court. Judge Evelyn Wilson will decide whether or not to bound the men over for trial.


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