Defense says carbon monoxide poisoning killed 4-year-old

Published: Dec. 12, 2019 at 5:02 PM CST
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In a motion seeking a lower bond for defendant Timothy W. Funk Sr., a Funk defense attorney said the death of his 4-year-old granddaughter was "the result of a tragic accident due to carbon monoxide poisoning" that also impacted Funk and a second granddaughter.

Timothy Funk Sr. is charged with murder in the death of his 4-year-old granddaughter, and the grandfather is asking a judge to lower his $500,000 bond, according to Shawnee County District Court records.

Brandy Lee Funk, who died on July 23 at 308 S. Masche Street, a Silver Lake home, is a granddaughter of Timothy Funk.

On Thursday, Funk, 56, remained in Shawnee County Jail in lieu of the $500,000 bond.

Funk is charged with felony first-degree murder in the death of Brandy Funk and two felony counts of aggravated endangering a child, according to court records.

In an affidavit obtained by 13NEWS earlier in December, the document said a gas-powered generator was located in an attached garage of the residence. A power cord from the generator ran into the residence to a portable air conditioner in the living room, and the overhead garage door was closed. Trace amounts of carbon monoxide were detected in the residence.

Early on July 23, Timothy Funk Sr. woke up and found that both granddaughters were sick and had thrown up in the living room, and he cleaned up the vomit with blankets.

At this point, officers "started to believe that carbon monoxide poisoning may have been a contributing factor" in Brandy Funk's death, the affidavit said.

In a motion filed December 9, defense attorney Seth Brackman wrote that according to the affidavit filed in the case, Timothy Funk Sr. "ran a generator in a garage that was technically attached to the house, but had no access between the house and garage without going outside first."

Law enforcement "officers believe carbon monoxide was expelled from the generator and infused to the air in the house resulting in deadly levels of carbon monoxide inside the residence while Mr. Funk and the children slept," the bond motion said.

On July 23, Shawnee County sheriff's deputies found Brandy Funk unresponsive at the Masche Street home in Silver Lake. Medical crews pronounced the child dead at the scene.

The murder charge alleged Funk killed the child "in the commission of, attempt to commit, or flight from any inherently dangerous felony."

Aggravated endangering a child is defined as unlawfully, feloniously, and recklessly causing or permitting a child younger than 18 to be placed in a situation in which the child's life, body or health is endangered. The district court charges didn't specify what the endangering activities were.

As for the motion to lower Timothy Funk's $500,000 bond, Brackman didn't suggest how much Funk's lower bond should be.

"The defendant respectfully moves this court for a modification of the bond in an amount that this court deems reasonable," Brackman wrote.

"Excessive bail shall not be required," Brackman wrote, citing the U.S. Constitution.

The Kansas Constitution says, "All persons shall be bailable by sufficient sureties except for capital offenses, where proof is evidence or the presumption great. Excessive bail shall not be required."

It is anticipated that Funk's criminal history will be three or more nonperson felony convictions, "and although Mr. Funk is charged with serious allegations, his criminal history is dated, and he does not have any violent history," Brackman wrote.

The request for a lower bond didn't specify what the convictions were.

Funk is self-employed, earning $18,000 to $24,000 last year, and he will be able to work on construction jobs to earn income to support a granddaughter living in Beatrice, Nebraska, the motion said.

If released on bond, Funk would live with his sister in a southwest Topeka home, the motion said. Funk also "has the support of the family during these very trying times," Brackman wrote.

Funk is to next appear in court on Friday before District Court Judge David Debenham.