Third defendant makes plea in North Topeka triple murder

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Three days before jury selection preliminaries were to start in his trial, Brian Joseph Flowers stood before a judge on Tuesday to say "guilty" twice to killing a man and a woman in a North Topeka house.

Flowers, 34, became the fourth defendant to be convicted in the deaths of three people in the basement of a meth house at 115 N.W. Grant on March 12, 2017.

He made the pleas in the deaths of Matthew Leavitt, 19, and Nicole Star Fisher, 38. The third murder victim was Luke Patrick Davis, 20.

Their bodies were found on March 12, 2017, in the basement at 115 N.W. Grant, a meth house in North Topeka. The victims were strangled or suffocated.

"I am pleased with the resolution of the Flowers case today," District Attorney Mike Kagay said Tuesday. "This plea represents one more defendant held accountable for the murders. It represents justice for our victims and their families."

"Flowers faces a presumptive life sentence for each count, with each count requiring a minimum of 25 years before he is eligible for parole," Kagay said. Prosecutors will seek consecutive terms.

Besides the felony first-degree murders, Flowers also was charged with two counts of aggravated kidnapping of Leavitt and Fisher and one count each of aggravated assault and aggravated robbery. Those four charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement with the Shawnee County District Attorney's Office.

The Flowers trial, which was to start on Friday with jury selection, had been expected to last 10 days. In Shawnee County, most murder trials last about five days.
Flowers is to be sentenced on August 14.

If Flowers had faced a jury trial, prosecutors would have called three co-defendants to testify against him, Deputy District Attorney Brett Watson said during the plea. Flowers ands co-defendant and co-defendant Kora L. Liles formerly had been married and remained very close, Watson said.

As a condition of the plea by Flowers, the prosecution agreed to dismiss a 2016 case in which he was charged with attempting to elude a police road block, distributing drugs, and interfering with a law enforcement officer, all felonies, and three misdemeanors.

The other four defendants
Less than four weeks ago, jurors deliberated less than two hours before they convicted Joseph P. Lowry, 32, in the killings of the three victims.

Jurors found Lowry guilty of 10 charges. They were:

  • two counts of premeditated first-degree murder in the slayings of Leavitt and Davis
  • three counts of felony first-degree murder in the slayings of Fisher, Leavitt and Davis
  • three counts of aggravated kidnapping of the three victims
  • one count of aggravated assault of Leavitt
  • one count of aggravated robbery of Leavitt.

Lowry can't be sentenced to all five murder counts. He likely will be sentenced to two counts of premeditated first-degree murder, which can carry a minimum 50-year sentence for each count, and one count of felony first-degree murder, which can carry a 25-year sentence.

Consecutive murder sentences would tally 125 years.

Sentences for one conviction of aggravated kidnapping could be 12 years and three months to 54 years and five months; 12 years and three months to 13 years and nine months for the other two kidnapping convictions; four years and seven months to five years and one month for the aggravated robbery; and 11 to 13 months for the aggravated assault.

Lowry is to be sentenced on May 17.

On June 20, 2018, jurors convicted Liles, 32, of three counts of felony first-degree murder; three counts of aggravated assault; three counts of aggravated kidnapping; and cultivating, distributing or possessing methamphetamines; and unlawful use of drug paraphernalia.

Liles is to be sentenced on May 10.

Joseph Aaron Krahn, 36, was sentenced Nov. 17, 2017, to three consecutive life terms of 50 years each for each victim. Krahn earlier pleaded no contest to three counts of premeditated first-degree murder.

Shane Andrew Mays, 21, faces two charges of premeditated first-degree murder, but those charges haven't been resolved yet. Mays' his next hearing will be on May 9.