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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Murder case moves forward

  • A preliminary hearing has been scheduled in the case against a rural Leavenworth man who is charged with second-degree murder.
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  • A preliminary hearing has been scheduled in the case against a rural Leavenworth man who is charged with second-degree murder.
    The hearing for Jeffery Sifford is scheduled for Jan. 16.
    That next court date was established Thursday when Sifford appeared in Leavenworth County District Court with his court-appointed attorney, Geoffrey Sonntag.
    Sifford, 48, is charged with the shooting death of Richard E. Luse, 58, of rural Easton.
    Luse was found wounded early Sunday morning in a travel trailer at a residence in the 19000 block of Springdale Road, which is where Sifford lives.
    Luse later died at the hospital.
    Investigators believe the shooting resulted from an argument between Sifford annd Luse, Leavenworth County Undersheriff Jim Sherley said.
    Sifford is not charged with intentionally killing Luse. But, the defendant is alleged to have acted in a reckless manner that resulted in Luse's death, according to the criminal complaint.
    During the preliminary hearing next month, evidence will be presented and a judge will determine if the case is bound for trial. The preliminary hearing will take place in the morning Jan. 16, District Court Judge Gunnar Sundby said.
    Sifford remained in custody, as of Thursday morning. Sundby set bond at $250,000.
    The judge said Sifford has a minor criminal history. The $250,000 bond was based on the severity of the second-degree murder charge, Sundby said.
    Sonntag said he may ask the court to address bond at a later date.
    The defense attorney said he may not have enough jury trials in his career to meet the qualification requirements for being appointed to a second-degree murder case.
    Sonntag said he discussed the matter with Sifford, who agreed to waive the requirement.
    "I know Mr. Sonntag has tried a lot of cases," Sundby said.
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