Kansas Supreme Court upholds murder conviction

The Kansas Supreme Court today affirmed the conviction of Kelvin H. Gibson Jr. for first-degree murder and aggravated robbery in 2008 in Kansas City, Kan.

Gibson, who was 17 then, was found guilty of the Oct. 6, 2008, killing of Phillip Martin.

Martin died from multiple gunshot wounds, and was found dead on his kitchen floor in what appeared to be a drug-related crime, according to court documents.

Gibson had appealed his conviction, arguing that his statements to investigating detectives were not freely and voluntarily given and that he should have been given an opportunity to testify to suppress the statements after he refused to testify at his first hearing.

In a unanimous decision, the court agreed with the district court’s determination that Gibson’s two interviews with detectives on separate days were voluntary.

Gibson, who was 17 years old at the time, argued he was under the influence of marijuana during his first interview and that his young age made him intimidated by the officers. The court noted Gibson had denied being under the influence of any drugs when interviewed and that the interview video showed his responses were prompt and clear when detectives read him his rights, and that he had admitted to being treated fairly, not threatened, or being uncomfortable.

The court also held the district court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to give Gibson a second chance to testify about why the statements should be suppressed because he had refused his opportunity to testify at an earlier hearing on that issue.

The Supreme Court decision is online at  http://www.kscourts.org/Cases-and-Opinions/opinions/SupCt/2014/20140418/106646.pdf.


Open burning ban lifted today

A temporary open burn ban has been lifted today in Kansas City, Kan., for those who have a permit.
According to the Kansas City, Kan., Fire Department, weather conditions will be monitored the next few days to determine if the temporary burn ban will be reinstated.
Residents need to have a burn permit for open burning, and all safety requirements and conditions on the burn permit must be followed, a spokesman for the Fire Department said.
Residents also are asked to use caution when using outdoor barbecue equipment.


Fire at apartment building on 72nd under investigation

A fire at an apartment building at 905 N. 72nd St. on Thursday night is under investigation, according to the Kansas City, Kan., Fire Department.
There were no injuries, a spokesman for the Fire Department said.
The fire was reported around 9:49 p.m. April 17. When crews arrived they saw fire coming from the roof of the three-story apartment building, the spokesman said.
The fire was on the third floor, and it had extended into other apartments and the common attic area, he said.
All the residents had left the building’s 18 apartment units on their own by the time the firefighters arrived, the spokesman said. The fire was brought under control in 45 minutes.
The Fire Department said the estimated loss to the structure and contents was $300,000 on the $900,000 building.
The Red Cross was called to assist about 30 residents, who were all adults, the spokesman said.