Defendant bound over in murder case

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times
Darvon D. Thomas

The case of a Leavenworth man charged with murder in connection to the shooting of a 12-year-old boy has been bound over for arraignment.

A judge ruled Tuesday there is sufficient probable cause for the case against Darvon D. Thomas to proceed. The decision came at the conclusion of a preliminary hearing.

“The defendant will be bound over on both counts,” District Judge Gerald Kuckelman said.

Thomas, 25, is charged in Leavenworth County District Court with first-degree murder and contributing to a child’s misconduct.

The charges stem from an April 14 shooting in Leavenworth, which resulted in the death of Brian Henderson Jr., Kansas City, Missouri.

A 17-year-old Kansas City, Kansas, boy also is charged with first-degree murder in connection to the shooting. The teen also faces a charge of discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle.

Thomas 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 felony that is considered inherently dangerous.

Several prosecution witnesses testified during Tuesday’s preliminary hearing including a 15-year-old boy who was present at the April 14 shooting.

The boy testified that he is the cousin of the 17-year-old boy who allegedly fired the gunshots.

The witness testified that he and his cousin accompanied Thomas to the Kare Pharmacy parking lot, 2500 S. Fourth St., because the defendant wanted to purchase a firearm.

The witness said Thomas gave him $400 to purchase the firearm from people who were in another vehicle in the parking lot.

After the money was exchanged for the gun, the teen discovered the weapon was not a real firearm. He shouted toward Thomas’ vehicle that the gun was a BB gun, according to the testimony.

The witness said his cousin started shooting as the other car was leaving the lot.

Detective Tesh St. John of the Leavenworth Police Department testified that when interviewed by police, the 15-year-old witness said he heard Thomas say, “Shoot. They have my money.”

But the 15-year-old witness testified Tuesday that he was not close enough to Thomas to have heard anything the defendant said just before the shooting started.

“I was too far,” the witness said.

Detective Laura Flynn of the Leavenworth Police Department testified that Henderson had been a passenger in the back seat of the vehicle that was shot at.

Henderson was driven to Children’s Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, Missouri, where he died.

Flynn said she examined the vehicle.

“There were bullet holes in the rear trunk of the vehicle,” she said.

Detective Cody Kear of the Leavenworth Police Department testified that he attended the autopsy of Henderson. Kear said the boy had suffered three gunshot wounds.

Detective Sean Flynn testified he interviewed Thomas.

Sean Flynn testified that Thomas said he stopped at the pharmacy so the 15-year-old boy who was with him could purchase marijuana.

Thomas told the detective the teen said something to his cousin, who started firing shots into the air, according to the testimony.

At the conclusion of the hearing, Assistant County Attorney Megan Williams argued Thomas had told one of the teens with him to start shooting. She also argued Thomas fled with the teens after the shooting by driving away from the scene.

Thomas’ attorney, Matthew Terry, questioned the credibility of the teen who testified during the hearing. Terry said there was no evidence that his client aided in the discharging of a firearm.

Arraignment for Thomas is scheduled for June 4. He will be asked to enter a plea at that time.

Thomas remains in custody at the Leavenworth County Jail.

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