Other matters remain unresolved
A woman facing a murder charge in Leavenworth County was back in court Friday ahead of the scheduled start of her trial.
Barbara M. Frantz, 52, Kansas City, Kansas, is charged with first-degree murder. She is accused of shooting her estranged husband, Gary, Jan. 27, 2017, in a Leavenworth parking lot.
Her trial is scheduled to start Monday in Leavenworth County District Court. The trial could last two weeks.
She remains in custody at the Leavenworth County Jail.
During Friday’s hearing, District Judge Michael Gibbens ruled that defense attorneys will be able to present evidence of a potential motive on the part of Frantz’s son.
Defense attorneys plan to argue the son was the person who was responsible for the shooting.
Gibbens said he based his ruling on evidence defense attorneys indicated they plan to introduce during the trial. If this evidence is not presented, the judge said he will not allow evidence of a possible motive.
“You’ve got to have some ability to link him to the crime,” Gibbens said.
The judge still has to rule on other motions and plans to take up at least some of them Monday including a defense motion seeking to suppress in-court identification of Frantz as the shooter.
This motion involves a witness who is reported to have initially described the shooter as a man but later identified Frantz as the shooter during a preliminary hearing in the case.
Stacey Schlimmer, one of Frantz’s attorneys, argued Friday that detectives had used Frantz’s name and the word “she” when talking about the shooter with the witnesses.
“This is tainting what they saw that evening,” Schlimmer said.
Another issue that came up Friday was the defense team issuing subpoenas for 20 members of the Leavenworth Police Department and asking them to appear in court at 9 a.m. Monday.
Attorney Katie Devlin said having that many officers show up at court at one time would impact the Leavenworth Police Department’s ability to provide law enforcement services to the residents of the city.
Schlimmer said the defense team had planned to have someone meet the officers in the hallway and collect reports and videos from the officers. Schlimmer said the defense team intended to check if the reports and videos brought in by the officers matched what had been provided to the defense through the discovery process.
It was decided Friday that copies of the materials that have been provided to the defense will be dropped off at the Police Department so officers can review and authenticate them before it is time for them to testify.
Devlin also said Friday that the defense had failed to provide all of the necessary contact information for two witnesses. She asked that these two defense witnesses be excluded from testifying.
Schlimmer said phone numbers were provided for the witnesses, but the defense attorneys do not have the other requested information such as addresses.
Schlimmer said one of the witnesses is an investigator who has been working with the defense team.
Gibbens expressed surprise that the defense attorneys do not have an address for their investigator.
“We text him, we talk to him on the phone and he comes to our office,” Schlimmer said.
Gibbens said the defense faces the risk of having the witnesses excluded from testifying if the requested information is not provided to the prosecution.
Devlin also questioned why an employee of the County Attorney’s Office had been subpoenaed by the defense.
Schlimmer said this employee is involved in the discovery process and may be called to testify about materials that were provided to the County Attorney’s Office. The defense attorney questioned whether the Leavenworth Police Department had provided only half of an autopsy report. She said this could be important to the credibility of detectives.
Devlin said she will argue that discovery is a legal matter and not in the jury’s province.