Supreme Court reinstates murder conviction for man who claimed self-defense

Mark Holley III
Mark Holley III(KASPER)
Published: May. 21, 2022 at 4:51 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Kansas Supreme Court has reinstated a murder conviction for a man it had previously said was using self-defense.

The Kansas Supreme Court says in the matter of Appeal No. 121,181: State of Kansas v. Mark Holley III, it affirmed Holley’s convictions for felony murder and child endangerment.

Holley had been sentenced to life in prison for the shooting death of D’Shaun Smith, 18.

In 2021, the Court said it reversed Holley’s felony murder conviction as it had decided the jury should have been instructed on self-defense. However, after a rehearing by the State, it said it now holds that a self-defense instruction is only available in felony murder cases to the extent it could negate an element of the underlying inherently dangerous felony.

Holley had claimed he shot Smith in self-defense after Smith aimed a gun and tried to rob him after a drug deal for marijuana fell through.

Because Holley’s alleged self-defense could not be legally justified under any of the elements of his felony of aggravated robbery, the Court said Holley was not entitled to a self-defense instruction.

Additionally, the Court said it found sufficient evidence to support Holley’s convictions for child endangerment.

The Court said it did also decide to vacate Holley’s lifetime postrelease supervision sentence. It said it found a sentencing court lacks the authority to dictate a term of post-release supervision in conjunction with an off-grid, indeterminate life sentence.

Lastly, the Court said it declined to vacate the district court’s restitution order as Holley did not preserve that argument for appeal.

Kansas Department of Correction records indicates Holley was convicted in 2019 for two counts of aggravated robbery and two counts of endangering a child in March 2017 as well as one count of theft, one count of possession of marijuana and one count of murder in the first degree.

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