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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Defendant pleads not guilty in murder case

  • A man has pleaded not guilty to murdering two brothers last year in Leavenworth.
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  • A man has pleaded not guilty to murdering two brothers last year in Leavenworth.
    The plea came Thursday in the case of Aundray D. McDonald and followed a preliminary hearing in his case. District Judge Gunnar Sundby ruled that based on evidence that was presented, the prosecution had sustained the burden of proof for the preliminary hearing. And the judge ordered that the case be bound over for trial.
    McDonald, 37, is charged with premeditated first-degree murder, first-degree felony murder, criminal discharge of a firearm at an occupied vehicle and criminal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
    He is accused of killing Derrick and Marshall Jones Dec. 16 in Leavenworth.
    The brothers reportedly were shot in a parking lot outside of a barbershop at Broadway and Metropolitan Avenue. They were driven from the scene by a friend, but the car crashed in a park at Spruce and Seventh streets.
    Derrick, 25, was pronounced dead at the crash scene. Marshall, 28, died at a hospital.
    After the case was bound over Thursday, the defense asked to proceed with arraignment. That’s when McDonald entered his not guilty plea to all four counts. A jury trial was scheduled for March 18. A status hearing is scheduled for Jan. 11.
    A number of witnesses were called to testify by the prosecutor, Assistant County Attorney Michael Jones, during Thursday’s preliminary hearing, which lasted most of the day.
    One of the witnesses, April McMahan, testified she was Derrick Jones’ girlfriend. She also said McDonald is the father of her daughter.
    McMahan testified she and McDonald had argued through text messages and phone calls Dec. 16 because she wouldn’t allow him to take their daughter for the weekend.
    McMahan and Derrick Jones were at the home of a person who was identified as Ernest Poke Dec. 16. Marshall Jones also was at the residence, according to the testimony.
    McMahan testified that McDonald started badmouthing Derrick Jones. Derrick saw a text message McDonald had sent to her. Derrick sent a text message to McDonald. Derrick then received a call on his cell phone.
    McMahan said, following the phone call, Derrick was supposed to meet McDonald at a barbershop on Metropolitan Avenue. He left in a car with his brother, Poke and another man who was identified as Jeramy Johnson.
    “I tried to talk Derrick out of going,” McMahan said.
    She said she thought Derrick and McDonald were going to fight and that would be the end of it.
    According to McMahan’s testimony, Marshall Jones said, “Grab the straps” before leaving.
    It was suggested this could have been a reference to getting a gun.
    Poke testified that no one had said anything about a gun before leaving his residence.
    Page 2 of 3 - He testified that after arriving at First City Barbershop, 743 Metropolitan Ave., Derrick Jones got out of the vehicle and took off his shirt.
    McDonald said, “Let’s be humble and let’s talk.” He and Derrick began walking together, according to Poke’s testimony.
    Poke said McDonald then pulled out a gun and shot Derrick.
    “He started shooting up the car,” Poke said.
    Marshall Jones, who had remained in the vehicle, said at some point that he’d been shot, according to the testimony.
    After the shooting, Derrick was placed back into the vehicle. Poke said he tried to get into the barbershop, but he wasn’t allowed in. Poke said he told Johnson to drive the Jones brothers to the hospital.
    Poke was called to testify twice during the hearing. He initially testified he had not been with the Jones brothers Dec. 16.
    After his initial testimony, Poke reportedly indicated he wanted to clarify or correct his testimony. He was recalled as a witness.
    “When I first came here I was nervous,” Poke said when discussing the change in testimony.
    He also indicated he was concerned about damaging feelings family members of the Jones brothers have for him.
    Johnson testified that he was getting out of the car when he heard gunshots. He ran toward an area where other cars were parked. After the shooting, Derrick was on the ground. Marshall was still in the car.
    Johnson said he picked up Derrick and put him in the car.
    “I tried to drive to the hospital,” he said, but there was an accident as he swerved to avoid hitting another car.
    Johnson was in custody as he testified. According to a website from the Kansas Department of Corrections, he’s now serving a prison sentence for a drug charge.
    Dr. Michael Handler, who performed autopsies on the Jones brothers, testified that Derrick Jones had two gunshot wounds in his chest. Marshall Jones had one gunshot wound to his chest.
    Three men who were working at the First City Barbershop Dec. 16 also testified about the shooting. They testified McDonald had a gun. They also saw someone, who was identified as Poke, get out of the vehicle with a shotgun or rifle.
    Three men who passed by the barbershop in a vehicle also testified about witnessing a shooting.
    Brian Anderson, a detective with the Leavenworth Police Department, was among three law enforcement officers who testified. He said six 9 mm spent shell casings were found in the parking lot of the barbershop. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation identified the casings as having come from the same firearm.
    Page 3 of 3 - He testified that a bullet and bullet fragment recovered during the autopsies were consistent with being 9 mm bullets.
    Anderson said two .380 caliber bullets that had not been fired were recovered during the investigation. One was found in the parking lot. The other was found in the vehicle.
    The detective also testified that he found three bullet holes in the car.
    McDonald’s attorney, Carl Cornwell, did not call any witness to testify.
    McDonald is now serving a prison sentence for attempted aggravated battery because his probation in that Johnson County case was revoked, according to the Kansas Department of Corrections website.
    He also is facing charges in another case in Leavenworth County District Court. This case involves charges of possession of cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia for crimes that are alleged to have occurred in May 2011 in Leavenworth.
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