Status hearing scheduled in capital murder case

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times
Donald R. Jackson Jr.

A Leavenworth County man who is charged with capital murder appeared in court Thursday.

Donald R. Jackson Jr. appeared in court for a status hearing. And his next status hearing has been scheduled for May 20.

Jackson, 40, is charged with capital murder for allegedly killing his two sons, ages 12 and 14. The bodies of the boys were found Oct. 24 at a residence on Hillside Road near Lansing.

The two boys had been shot, according to a probable cause affidavit prepared in the case.

Jackson, who remains in custody at the Leavenworth County Jail, made his court appearance Thursday through the Zoom online videoconferencing service.

Zoom is being used for many Leavenworth County District Court proceedings because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

District Judge Gerald Kuckelman asked Thursday if attorneys in the case were ready to schedule a preliminary hearing.

Jeffrey Dazey, one of Jackson’s attorneys, said the prosecution had provided the defense team a bundle of materials as part of the discovery process.

“We are going through the records with a fine-tooth comb,” he said.

Dazey said the defense attorneys have provided the prosecution a detailed list of materials they are still seeking through the discovery process.

“It is going to take them time to review those items and respond,” he said.

Dazey requested to have another status hearing in about 60 days.

“Then we’re going to be in a much better position to set this matter for a preliminary hearing,” he said.

Assistant County Attorney Shawn Boyd agreed it will take the prosecution time to review the defense’s request. He said discovery evidence continues to come in.

“So I don’t have a problem with 60 days,” he said.

Kuckelman scheduled the next hearing for May 20.

Dazey said the defense filed a request for Jackson to appear in court in civilian clothing or to have cameras barred from the courtroom. Dazey said defense attorneys would prefer that cameras not be allowed in the courtroom.

Dazey said defense attorneys are trying to avoid the defendant being photographed during what he characterized as the “classic perp walk.”

Kuckelman said so far Jackson has appeared in court in green jail clothing the judge said looked like medical scrubs.

Kuckelman said he would order that Jackson be allowed to wear civilian clothing during a jury trial. But the judge said he does not believe this is necessary for status hearings.

The judge suggested he can listen to arguments about the defense request during the next status hearing.

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