Witnesses testify of bloody beating of man at South Topeka apartment

Published: Oct. 27, 2020 at 5:49 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A father testified Tuesday that his adult son suffered head injuries and injuries to a foot and hand during a beating on March 8 in a southwest Topeka apartment.

At the end of a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, Kolven L. Campmire, 21, was bound over to face trial on charges of aggravated battery (great bodily harm or disfigurement) and aggravated robbery.

Shawnee County District Court Judge Ebberts bound over Campmire.

Campmire is scheduled to be arraigned before Ebberts on December 3 on the two felony charges.

A second defendant, Christian Walter, is charged with aggravated battery of the man.

The victim is Mark D. Smeltzer, 22, who didn’t testify during the preliminary hearing of Campmire.

Campmire remains in Shawnee County Jail and would have to post a bond of $75,000 cash or professional surety, according to court records.

When Topeka police arrived at an apartment at 3200 S.W. Eveningside, Smeltzer was seated in an overstuffed blue chair and was unconscious, a Topeka police officer testified.

“He was unconscious,” the officer said, adding that Smeltzer had a large laceration on the left side of his head.

“He was hooked up to I don’t know how many” devices when he was hospitalized, Ron Smeltzer, the victim’s father, testified Tuesday.

“He had had brain surgery that morning,” the father testified, and Mark Smeltzer would undergo another four surgeries.

The younger Smeltzer was in an intensive care unit for seven weeks, then was admitted to a rehabilitation hospital in Nebraska.

“His short-term memory is profoundly affected,” Ron Smeltzer testified. Mark Smeltzer may not know what he did five minutes earlier, the father said.

Mark Smeltzer is confused about who people are.

“He may call me Mom,” Ron Smeltzer testified.

The son holds his right hand, which is his dominant hand, close to his body, and he has a pronounced limp with his right foot, the father said.

Walter, the co-defendant in the case, testified that prosecutors hadn’t granted immunity to him for any testimony he made on Tuesday.

The battery of Mark Smeltzer occurred during a gathering of young men who had known each other while they were youngsters growing up.

Mark Smeltzer had arrived at the apartment about 1 a.m. to 2 a.m. on March 8, Walter testified.

At one point, Smeltzer tripped, fell and broke a closet door, Walter said. Three of the men argued that Smeltzer had no business being there, Walter said.

Campmire alleged that Smeltzer had stolen belongings from the apartment, Walter testified. Smeltzer was wearing a distinctive red belt, and Campmire took the belt to counteract the alleged theft of belongings that had been taken from Campmire, Walter testified.

Walter used his cell phone to record videos showing assaults of Smeltzer.

“I’m (epithet) tired of you coming into our apartment and stealing our stuff,” Campmire could be heard saying on a video.

Everyone in the apartment had consumed drugs, Walter said.

In video segments, Smeltzer was kicked in the head several times, and at another point, one man hurled a punch, striking Smeltzer in the head, knocking him to the floor where he appeared to be unconscious.

Smeltzer wasn’t trying to block the punches and kicks. Blood was streaming down the left side of his face.

Chasyn Campion, who lived at the apartment, said that Smeltzer was “noticeably intoxicated” when he came out of the apartment bathroom, and when Campmire took Smeltzer’s cell phone, he became angry and tried to get it back, Campion said.

Campion said Smeltzer didn’t attack the two men charged in the case and was in “no condition” to do anything to them.

Campion estimated “there were more than 20” acts of violence to Smeltzer.

Campion said he didn’t think half the violence against Smeltzer was recorded, including slapping, choking and the slamming of feet on the victim’s chest.

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