RILEY COUNTY, Kan. (WIBW) -- A preliminary hearing has been pushed back for the man charged in a deadly drive-by shooting in Manhattan.
Daniel Parker, 26, was scheduled to appear in Riley County court Wednesday, August 29, 2012 for a preliminary hearing but it has been postponed.
Parker is accused of opening fire outside of a New Year’s party at a Manhattan motorcycle club.
Frederick Beverly, 21, a Kansas National Guardsman, was caught in the crossfire and killed.
On January 1, 2012 around 4 AM, officers were called to 1827 Fair Lane, just south of the intersection of Fort Riley Boulevard and South Delaware Avenue.
At that location, members of the "Assassin Street Rydaz," a Manhattan motorcycle club, were having an after-hours New Year's party at their club house.
Beverly, a member of the motorcycle club, was shot outside, receiving a fatal gunshot wound to the head. He was later pronounced dead at Mercy Regional Health Center in Manhattan.
Officials say Beverly was shot when someone inside a passing car opened fire outside of the party in a drive-by shooting. Frederick Beverly's younger brother, Isaac, told 13 News that Frederick was manning the gate at the New Year's party when the shots rang out.
Police say they identified Parker as the gunman and he was arrested several days after the deadly shooting for First Degree Murder and Criminal Discharge of a Firearm into a building.
As for what sparked the deadly shooting, Captain Jeff Hooper, who oversees the Riley County Police Department's Criminal Investigations Division, says Daniel Parker had a confrontation with several members of the "Rydaz" motorcycle club earlier in the night at a Manhattan bar. Hooper says Frederick Beverly was there when the altercation occurred.
At the time of his arrest, Parker, of Junction City, was a specialist at Fort Riley assigned to the 1st Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division.
Parker's attorney, Larry McRell, Chief Public Defender for the North Central Regional Public Defender's Office, filed a motion Wednesday to withdraw as his lawyer.
"Neither Daniel or I wanted the end result of my withdrawal, but a conflict of interest that was beyond the control of either of us surfaced that necessitated analysis, and subsequently, my withdrawal," McRell told WIBW in a statement.
McRell declined to discuss or elaborate on the conflict.
"As the court is well aware, our office represents hundreds of clients in any given period of time whether we measure that by month or by year and those clients are likewise entitled to confidential communications and those communications are confidential and privileged information. As such, Mr. Parker and I had to visit about that particular matter and in visiting about it we determined what we thought was in his best interest. It’s not what Mr. Parker wanted and it’s not, quite frankly, was counsel wanted. We have been working with each other for the past eight months. However, the right decision sometimes isn’t the easy decision," McRell said in court Wednesday.
"The Public Defender’s Office represents a lot of people. If there is a witness that we’re going to call who they have represented, that puts them in a dicey situation because they have to cross examine someone that they have worked with as a defendant and it puts them in a difficult situation so conflicts often arise in cases….Conflicts are just part of the nature of the beast in dealing with cases," Assistant Riley County Attorney Barry Disney told 13 News.
Officials say the conflict of interest was triggered when the state expanded Parker's charges to include first degree premeditated murder.
"The defendant was originally charged with simply felony first degree murder. He’s now being charged with premeditated first degree murder and alternatively first degree felony murder so the level of the crime has stayed the same. The theory has been expanded to include premeditated or felony murder," Disney explained.
According to Disney, the state's stance is that Parker killed Beverly during the commission of a dangerous felony when he shot at the club house and in the process, fatally wounded Beverly. He says the state has now expanded the charges to include a new theory and filed allegations that Parker intentionally and with premeditation killed Beverly.
Both charges carry a life sentence. Someone convicted of felony murder is eligible for parole after 20 years. Someone convicted of premeditated murder is eligible for parole after 25 years.
Daniel Parker has been assigned a new attorney- Ron Evans- from Topeka to represent him. Evans is the head of the Death Penalty Defense Unit for the State of Kansas. Parker is not charged with capital murder but Evans will still represent him due to the conflict. Parker remains in custody at the Riley County Jail. A scheduling hearing has been set for September 19, 2012 at 9:30 AM at the Riley County Courthouse.