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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Evidence awaited in murder case

  • A preliminary hearing in the case of a rural Leavenworth man charged with second-degree murder is on hold as attorneys await test results from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.
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  • A preliminary hearing in the case of a rural Leavenworth man charged with second-degree murder is on hold as attorneys await test results from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.
    Jeffery Sifford, 48, is charged in the shooting death of Richard E. Luse, 58, of rural Easton.
    Luse was found wounded in the early morning hours of Dec. 22 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 and 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.
    A preliminary hearing in Sifford's case had been scheduled for March 7 but attorneys for both sides asked for a continuance.
    Sifford appeared Friday in Leavenworth County District Court and Assistant County Attorney Cheryl Marquardt said both sides are awaiting KBI lab results.
    Sifford's attorney, Geoffrey Sonntag, said a lot of evidence had been sent to the KBI for testing, and the state law enforcement agency has indicated it may be the end of May before results are ready.
    District Judge Gunnar Sundby said a preliminary hearing can proceed without forensic evidence.
    Sonntag said he had discussed the matter with his client and Sifford would prefer to have the evidence before a preliminary hearing.
    A status hearing was scheduled for May 9.

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