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Defendant may argue immunity in murder case

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times
Cody J. Nichols

A man who is facing a first-degree murder charge in Leavenworth County may argue he is immune from prosecution.

An attorney for Cody J. Nichols said he may file an immunity from prosecution motion on behalf of his client. Defense attorney Gregory Robinson mentioned the motion Monday during a hearing for Nichols.

Under state law, a person is immune from criminal prosecution if his or her use of force is legally justified.

Nichols, 19, Lee’s Summit, Missouri, is charged in connection to the July 18 shooting death of Sanquan M. Brooks in Leavenworth.

Nichols is accused of what is known as felony murder, which is a form of first-degree murder. Felony murder occurs when someone is killed during the commission of a felony that is considered inherently dangerous.

Monday’s hearing had been scheduled for the purpose of taking up another motion filed by a prosecutor. That motion concerns the underlying felony related to the murder charge.

At the conclusion of a preliminary hearing in October, District Judge Gerald Kuckelman ruled the underlying felony should be possession or attempted possession of methamphetamine based on evidence presented during the hearing.

Assistant County Attorney Megan Williams has asked the judge to reconsider this ruling. She filed a motion arguing distribution of methamphetamine should be the underlying felony in the case.

Robinson said Monday that he had not filed a written response to the prosecution motion and requested additional time.

“Well, since we can’t set a jury trial anyway, I guess a delay can’t hurt,” Kuckelman said.

Jury trials have been halted because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Leavenworth County District Court officials are awaiting approval from the Kansas Supreme Court before resuming jury trials.

Kuckelman continued Monday’s hearing until Feb. 10.

Robinson was asked to have his motion for immunity from prosecution filed by Feb. 10. But Kuckelman said he likely will need to schedule another hearing to take up the defense motion.

Nichols remains in custody at the Leavenworth County Jail.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR