Murder defendant wants new judge to hear August trial

Anthony Darcy (Shawnee Co. Dept of Corrections)
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- An 83-year-old man charged with fatally shooting a father in front of the victim's young son is asking a Shawnee County District Court judge to step down from handling the defendant's murder case, the defendant's attorney said Friday.

Anthony N. Darcy is charged with premeditated first-degree murder of Stephen Matthew Snyder, 36; aggravated assault with a deadly weapon; and aggravated endangering of a child younger than 18, according to court records.

Darcy is charged with fatally to conduct the trial, said Napoleon Crews, Darcy's attorney.

Darcy "is determined to have a different judge," Crews said during a hearing in the courtroom of District Court Judge Dave Debenham.

Two days ago, Darcy told Crews of his desire for Debenham to recuse himself from handling the Darcy case, Crews told the judge. However, a written request to replace Debenham hasn't been filed so the request couldn't be considered on Friday, the judge told Darcy.

The reason for Darcy's request wasn't specified.

On Friday, Crews and Chief Deputy District Attorney Dan Dunbar questioned Dr. Lyle Noordhoek, who is trained in forensic pathology, about Snyder's death. Crews is seeking to call Noordhoek as an expert witness in the cause of Snyder's death. Noordhoek, a medical doctor in Hays, is a coroner in many of the jurisdictions in western Kansas.

Noordhoek reviewed the Snyder autopsy conducted by Dr. Charles Glenn, the former Shawnee County coroner, as well as photographs linked to the victim's death.

Noordhoek hadn't been to the crime scene which would limit what he could interpret about Snyder's death, he testified. At several points Friday, Noordhoek referred to the slaying occuring in a room, but Snyder was shot outside Darcy's southwest Topeka home.

One bullet entered Snyder's left chest, passed through his heart and both lungs, and exited under his right arm, Noordhoek testified. That wound would have been sufficient enough to cause Snyder's death, Noordhoek said. Snyder also suffered two more gunshot wounds.

Crews and Dunbar have until June 21 to submit written arguments on whether Noordhoek should be able to testify in the Darcy trial, which starts on Aug. 12.

When tried, Darcy will contend he acted in self-defense when he fatally shot Snyder, Crews said in December.

Snyder was shot May 1, 2017, outside Darcy’s house at 3031 S.W. 33rd. Snyder was the would-be buyer of Darcy's southwest Topeka home.