Shawnee Co. DA dismisses murder charges, reopens investigation

Lavonte Johnson (Source: Topeka Police Dept.)
Lavonte Johnson (Source: Topeka Police Dept.)(WIBW)
Published: Dec. 9, 2022 at 2:01 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Shawnee Co. District Attorney, Mike Kagay dismissed murder charges against a man accused in a 2019 shooting, but the case is not over.

Shawnee Co. District Court records show counts of first degree murder and criminal discharge of a firearm against Lavonte Johnson were dismissed Nov. 23.

Johnson was among three men accused in the shooting death of Joaquin McKinney, 16, July 25, 2019.

Topeka Police say people in one vehicle were firing shots as they chased another car. It ended when the car being chased crashed on SE 37th near Adams. McKinney was found unresponsive in the driver’s seat. He died the next day. Johnson was later arrested in Arkansas.

At a preliminary hearing, a witness testified to seeing Johnson firing shots from the car he was in. Jurors could not reach verdicts in Johnson’s trials in August 2021 and May 2022.

A third trial was set for March, but Kagay told 13 NEWS he requested the charges be dismissed without prejudice - meaning they could be filed again - and authorities have reopened the investigation. He asked anyone with information in the case to contact authorities.

Two other men, Danny Williams and Zach McFall, were convicted of murder and are serving life sentences for McKinney’s death.