Murder suspect appears in court with attorney

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times
Cody S. Huninghake

A rural Leavenworth County man who is accused of killing his half-brother appeared Friday in court with his court-appointed attorney.

Cody S. Huninghake, 25, is charged in Leavenworth County District Court with first-degree murder.

He is accused of shooting Robert Nelson on July 3 at a residence just outside the Leavenworth city limits on Ottawa Street.

Huninghake made his court appearance Friday from the Leavenworth County Jail through the Zoom videoconferencing service.

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

Huninghake's attorney, James Floyd, also appeared for the hearing through Zoom.

District Judge Gerald Kuckelman scheduled a status hearing for Aug. 11.

On Thursday, Kuckelman released a probable cause affidavit that was previously filed in the case following requests for the disclosure of the document.

Probable cause affidavits are initially sealed in criminal cases in Kansas. But a judge can order the documents be disclosed following requests.

The affidavit in Huninghake's case was prepared by Detective Ari Ailin of the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office. The document provides information about the investigation that resulted in the defendant's arrest.

Some of the information from the affidavit is redacted in the version that has been made available to the public.

According to the document, the victim was found in a recliner at the residence on Ottawa Street. He had a gunshot wound to the back of his head.

During an autopsy, pellets consistent with the payload of a shotgun were found in the victim's head.

Members of the Sheriff's Office found a 20-gauge shotgun and two other firearms in the house, according to the affidavit.

Huninghake reportedly called his father the evening of July 3. Huninghake, who reportedly was hysterical and crying, was at the residence on Ottawa Street. His father was at another location, according to the affidavit.

Huninghake's father and brother-in-law went to the home. Huninghake's brother-in-law told authorities the defendant said something to the effect of, "I thought he was going to kill me," according to the affidavit.

Ailin wrote in the affidavit that investigators found no visible signs of a struggle inside the residence.

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