Witnesses: Stabbing victim had bullied murder defendant for years

Andrew Timothy Evans (Source: Topeka Police Dept.)
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Raymond L. Smith had bullied Andrew Timothy Evans for years, sometimes with a knife, until Evans "snapped" and stabbed Smith repeatedly on September 1, witnesses who were neighbors testified Thursday in Shawnee County District Court.

Following a preliminary hearing, the 41-year-old Evans was bound over Thursday for trial in February on one charge of premeditated first-degree murder in Smith's death.

After more than an hour of testimony on Thursday by three witnesses, Evans defense attorney Jason Belveal told District Court Judge C. William Ossmann he stipulated that sufficient evidence had been presented to bind over his client.

Assistant District Attorney Roger Luedke said the stabbing occurred in the yard of Evans' house at 1213 S.E. 33rd Street, where security camera video would show Smith lying on the ground, then crawling backwards when Evans approached Smith and stabbed him multiple times.

Witnesses described the "altercation" between Evans and Smith.

"I knew Andrew was frustrated," Wilbert Osler testified. "You never see (Evans) frustrated."

Osler was watching TV when it became too quiet outside, and he went to see what was going on, he testified. Smith was lying on his back on the ground, and Evans said Smith's body needed to be disposed of, then dragged it about a foot.

"Hell, no, I'm calling 911," Osler said. Osler remained on the phone with 911 until police arrived at the scene. Smith's eyes were open but not blinking, Osler testified.

Osler referred to Smith, who lived at the S.E. 33rd Street address for about five years, as a "bully" who "was always ripping someone."
Osler and his brother, Adam Taylor, always had to try to get Smith to back off from Evans, Osler testified.

On September 1, Smith had stolen something from Evans. Evans owned the rental property at 1213 S.E. 33rd, and on numerous times he had tried to kicked Smith out of the property, but Smith would "get in Andrew's face," Osler testified.

Smith was supposed to do work at the rental property in lieu of paying rent, but Smith didn't do the work, Osler said.

Evans didn't carry a knife for protection, Taylor said.

About one-and-a-half years ago, Smith pulled a knife on Osler, used a racial slur when saying he would whip Osler, and held the knife to Osler's chest, Osler testified. A fight didn't develop on that occasion.

Taylor also saw the September 1 altercation. Evans wanted Smith to leave the property, but he didn't, Taylor said.

During the altercation, Smith and Evans came together, then parted, and Smith was falling back, Taylor said.

Evans had "snapped," Taylor said. "I never seen (Evans) do that."

Taylor said he saw Evans put the knife in Smith several times.

"I was stunned, I was shocked. I yelled at (Evans)," Taylor testified.

Smith yelled Taylor's name as he was being stabbed, Taylor testified. At one point, Evans looked at Taylor, and Evans' face "was blank," Taylor said.

In the past, Smith would kick in Evans' door and hold him at knife point, Taylor said.

Evans had a "good name" in the neighborhood, where he was known to be "mild-mannered, a cool guy," Taylor said.

Evans didn't know how to eject Smith from the S.E. 33rd Street apartment and didn't have it in him to call police. What triggered the September 1 altercation? the defense attorney asked.

"Five years," Taylor said.

Maurice Pratcher, also a neighbor, testified that on one occasion, Smith had threatened to kick in Evans' door and cut his throat. On September 1, Evans had a knife in his hand, and Smith had something in his hand, Pratcher testified.

Smith came at Evans, who stabbed him, Pratcher said. Evans moved Smith by pulling his legs, Pratcher said.

The judge entered a not guilty plea on Evans' behalf. Evans' four-day trial will start on Feb. 4.