Defendant to face all-day preliminary hearing in 2019 murder case

Published: Oct. 22, 2020 at 5:32 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A Topeka man charged with murder in the shooting death of a teenager will face an all-day preliminary hearing in the case, according to Shawnee County District Court records on Thursday.

The preliminary hearing of Darnell Davion Tyree-Peppers, 23, will be on January 22 before District Court Judge David Debenham.

Tyree-Peppers is charged with felony first-degree murder of a juvenile; attempted aggravated robbery; aggravated burglary of a dwelling; and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery while armed with a dangerous weapon, district court records said.

When he was 19, Tyree-Peppers was sentenced to two years in federal prison for burglary of a Topeka gun store, according to a U.S. Attorney’s statement issued in July 2018.

In that case, Tyree pleaded guilty to one count of theft of firearms from a federally-licensed gun dealer, the statement said.

Tyree-Peppers admitted that on July 23, 2017, he and a second person broke into the Integrity Gun and Pawn, 1949 S.W. Gage, the statement said.

A surveillance video showed burglars wore masks, hooded shirts and gloves when they smashed a front window to the store.

Eleven handguns were taken including 9mm and 40-caliber pistols, the statement said.

On August 7, 2017, the Nevada Highway Patrol stopped a car in Nevada and seized a .40-caliber pistol that was determined to be one of the 11 stolen firearms, the statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

In the Topeka slaying, Owen Merek Hughes, who was 15 or 16, suffered gunshot wounds on November 12, 2019, at the Hughes home at 2415 S.E. Maryland, according to court records.

Before he was slain, Hughes returned gunfire, striking Reginald Leroy McKinney Jr., who was fatally wounded, court records said.

A second man, Larry D. Huggins III, 20, has been charged with felony first-degree murder in the death of Hughes; attempted aggravated robbery;  aggravated burglary of a dwelling; and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery, court records said.

Huggins is to appear at a pre-trial hearing on October 27 before District Court Judge Cheryl Rios.

Following a preliminary hearing on January 15, Huggins was scheduled for a jury trial on May 11.

But the trial was postponed because the Shawnee County Courthouse was closed at that time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, court records said.

Hearings currently are conducted in Shawnee County, but jury trials aren’t conducted.

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