Murder Suspect Takes Stand, Tries To Flee Courtroom

By: Suzie Gilbert Email
By: Suzie Gilbert Email

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- It was a tense situation in Shawnee County Court Thursday as four of the nine people charged with killing a Topeka woman in July, appeared for their preliminary hearing.

Natalie Gibson, 40, was shot in her car outside her home. Four of the nine people charged in the case are minors, and one adult waived his right to a preliminary hearing. Prosecutors called that man to testify against the four other adults Thursday. That man, Bayate Covington, 20, agreed to take the stand for the prosecution, but wouldn't answer questions when he got there. Then he tried to flee the courtroom, but security caught him at the door. He later took the stand again on Thursday, as court continued until about 8 p.m. Covington said he had butterflies in his stomach that sent him running for the door. He later implicated the four other adult defendants, placing them at the murder scene.

Gibson was shot and killed sitting in her truck outside her home at 307 Quinton, last July.

Ronald Wakes, Michael Wilkins, Anceo Stovall, and Kevin Wilkins Jr., all in their 20s, are charged with first degree murder, aggravated and attempted aggravated robbery, and seven other felonies - including killing a dog at a home at 1801 Southwest Plass just days after Gibson's murder.

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Lori Allison, who was with Gibson, and also shot by assailants last July, detailed her experiences on the stand, and another witness who is also charged in the killing, took the stand.

Now 18-year-old Duane Richey placed himself and all of the defendants at the scene, saying they were all there to "hit a lick."

News cameras were not allowed to shoot video of any prosecution witnesses in Judge Evelyn Wilson's courtroom Thursday, including the defendants when they took the stand.

The hearing recessed just before 8 pm Thursday. It will resume next Thursday, when Covington is expected to return to the stand.

When testimony is complete, the judge will decide whether the evidence is sufficient to bind over the suspects for trial.


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