Kansas Supreme Court upholds Ayers’ convictions in Detective Lancaster’s slaying

The Kansas Supreme Court today upheld the consecutive sentences given to Curtis Ayers in connection with the slaying of Kansas City, Kansas, Police Detective Brad Lancaster.

Ayers, of Tonganoxie, Kansas, shot and killed Detective Lancaster near the Hollywood Casino on May 9, 2016, while Ayers was stealing a car.

Shortly afterward, he stole another car with two children in it, and besides being charged with the capital murder of Detective Lancaster, he also was charged with nine other counts related to the case. In a statement at one of the sentencings, he attributed his behavior to drugs.

Ayers had argued his life sentence without parole meant there was no possibility he would serve the other sentences, which his attorneys stated was unreasonable and an abuse of discretion.

However, the Supreme Court stated in its decision that incapacitation, rehabilitation and deterrence were not the only goals of incarceration, that retribution also was a goal. Also, the court stated that sentencing defendants to terms of imprisonment they are unlikely to serve was common.

While the Supreme Court today upheld the convictions and consecutive sentences, the court threw out a $1,000 Board of Indigents’ Defense Services (BIDS) fee assessed against Ayers. The case is being returned to district court for reconsideration of the fee.

Ayers’ attorneys had claimed the district court did not follow the proper procedure in assessing the fees.

The Kansas Supreme Court decision is online at http://www.kscourts.org/Cases-and-Opinions/opinions/SupCt/2019/20190111/117654.pdf.

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