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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Trial begins in attempted murder case

  • Testimony is expected to resume Tuesday in the trial of a Leavenworth man accused of trying to kill his pregnant ex-girlfriend and their unborn child.
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  • Testimony is expected to resume Tuesday in the trial of a Leavenworth man accused of trying to kill his pregnant ex-girlfriend and their unborn child.
    The trial of Richard T. Bennett began Monday in Leavenworth County District Court. He's charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder for the alleged attempted murder of Lachelle M. Kemp and their then unborn child. Bennett also faces one count for allegedly making a criminal threat against Kemp.
    The charges stem from a June 18 incident during which Bennett allegedly attacked his former girlfriend with a knife outside a Leavenworth convenience store.
    The defense is arguing that Kemp attacked Bennett and he acted in self defense.
    Their daughter was born after the incident.
    Kemp died Oct. 16 but not as a result of wounds she suffered during the June 18 incident. She died after accidentally coming into contact with a downed power.
    Kemp had testified during an Aug. 13 preliminary hearing. And there are plans for a transcript of her testimony to be read during the trial.
    Jury selection in Bennett's trial began Monday morning and wrapped up around 3:30 p.m., according to County Attorney Todd Thompson, who is one of the prosecutors in the case.
    Attorneys then delivered their opening arguments. And two prosecution witnesses testified before the jury of seven men and five women was sent home for the day.
    The first prosecution witness was Dr. William Galvin Jr., who treated Kemp at the Saint Luke's Cushing Hospital Emergency Room June 18.
    "She had suffered several stab wounds," he said.
    Galvin testified Kemp had been stabbed in the upper abdomen, back and behind one of her ears. He said all of the wounds except for the one in the abdomen were superficial.
    Dr. Donald Peghee Jr., who was Kemp's obstetrician-gynecologist, also testified Monday.
    He said Kemp had been 31 weeks pregnant at the time of the June 18 incident. He said an ultrasound taken after the incident had normal findings for the unborn child.
    Prosecutors say they plan to call six or seven additional witnesses. Thompson said they plan to have Kemp's prior testimony read at the end of their case.
    District Judge Gunnar Sundby said the transcript of the testimony will be read by the court reporter.
    Prosecutors and defense attorney Clinton Lee provided Sundby with recommendations for redactions to the transcript that will be read to jurors. The judge said he would review the recommendations Monday evening.
    The attempted murder charges filed against Bennett include alternative charges that jurors will be able to consider. Each of the attempted first-degree murder charges includes an alternative charge of attempted second-degree murder. The charge for the alleged attempted murder of Kemp also includes an alternative charge of aggravated battery. The charge for the alleged attempted murder of the then unborn child also includes an alternative charge of attempted aggravated battery.
    Page 2 of 2 - Bennett remains in custody at the Leavenworth County Jail during his trial.

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