Mistrial declared in Topekans triple murder trial

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LAWRENCE, Kan. (WIBW) -- A mistrial was declared Thursday in the trial of three Topeka men accused of killing three people during a gun battle in Octobert 2017 on a main street in downtown Lawrence.

Douglas County District Court Judge Sally Pokorny declared the mistrial Thursday afternoon following four days of jury selection. At 3:15 p.m., roughly 100 prospective jurors filed from a courtroom where jurors were being questioned during the jury selection process.

Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson confirmed the judge told prosecutors and defense attorneys that a matter surfaced that required her to discharge the jury panel, meaning a mistrial had occurred. That means the trial will have to be re-scheduled and started again.

Specifically what happened to trigger the mistrial, whether someone said something to taint the pool of prospective jurors, wasn't made public on Thursday.

Jury selection ended after four full days of jury selection. Jury selection in a murder trial in northeast Kansas often requires one or one-and-a-half days.

Jury selection in this trial was expected to require two or two-and-a-half days.

Anthony Laron Roberts Jr., Ahmad Malik Rayton, and Dominique Jaquez McMillon are being tried together for the Oct. 1, 2017 killings.

During the incident, Topekans Colwin Lynn Henderson III, 20, and Tre’Mel Dupree Dean-Rayton, 24, and of 22-year-old Leah Elizabeth Brown, of Shawnee, were fatally wounded. Two other Topeka men, Royelle Hunt, then 28, and Tahzay Rayton, then 19, were wounded by gunfire.

Roberts, 21, is charged with two counts of felony first degree murder, one count of second-degree murder, and one count of attempted second-degree murder. Ahmad Malik Rayton, 23, is charged with two counts of attempted second-degree murder. Dominique Jaquez McMillion, 20, is charged with aggravated assault and misdemeanor battery.

The defendants have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Court will resume at 9 a.m. Friday, when Pokorny will decide on how the trial, or trials, will proceed. Pokorny suggested in open court on Thursday that Roberts and Rayton should be tried in one trial and that McMillon should be tried separately.

On Thursday, J.C. Gilroy, McMillon's defense attorney, asked the judge to lower McMillon's $25,000 bond to a recognizance bond. That means McMillon would be released based on his signature on a bond. Gilroy told the judge he would search for relatives that McMillon could live with until his case goes to trial.

Gilroy noted that McMillon has been incarcerated awaiting trial for about as long as his sentence would be if he were convicted of the charges he faces.

Roberts and Rayton each remain in jail lieu of a $1 million bond each.