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Pandemic delays murder trial for man accused of killing off-duty corrections officer

Police tape at crime scene
Police tape at crime scene(KY3)
Published: Aug. 26, 2020 at 10:47 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Through his defense attorney, a 37-year-old man charged in the 2019 beating death of an off-duty corrections officer on Tuesday sought and got a 60-day postponement before the case returns to court.

Following a preliminary hearing on February 14, defendant Jeremy Erin Lardner, 37, was bound over to be tried on first-degree murder in the beating death of Brandi Prchal, 36, and a misdemeanor count of domestic battery.

The judge said there wasn't probable cause to bind over Lardner on a charge of making a criminal threat, Shawnee County District Court Judge Nancy Parrish ruled in February.

The judge said there wasn't probable cause to bind over Lardner on a charge of making a criminal threat.

On Tuesday, defense attorney Jason Belveal asked for the 60-day postponement, and Deputy District Attorney Dan Dunbar didn't object.

The judge and court reporter, defendant, Belveal and Dunbar met separately via a zoom hearing.

At this point, the next hearing on October 23 also will be a zoom hearing.

Speedy trial of defendants has been suspended based on Kansas Supreme Court orders, all due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

With the outbreak, participants in court hearings and trials would be exposed to the spread of the virus, which has killed several hundred Kansans.

During a preliminary hearing, a forensic pathologist, Dr. John Ralston, testified Prchal, suffered a minimum of 32 injuries, including a fractured neck, a fracture of a small bone in the neck, 22 rib fractures, overlapping bruises on the head, back and chest, lacerations of the liver, and bruising around the aorta.

"This would be many, many blows," Ralston said. This was a "severe manual assault." Ralston, who is a forensic pathologist in Kansas City, Kansas, referred to the injuries as multiple blunt force trauma.

Prchal didn't suffer any injuries caused by gunshot wounds or sharp force injury, Ralston testified.

The victim's body was found on November 1, 2019, in Lardner's small house at 928 S.W. Warren.

Prchal had worked for six months at the Shawnee County Jail before her death.

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