Kansas Supreme Court upholds murder conviction

The Kansas Supreme Court today affirmed MonDale Le’on Douglas’ convictions on three counts of first-degree premeditated murder.

A Wyandotte County District Court jury in 2020 found Douglas, age 31, guilty of the deaths of Edward Rawlins, David Rawlins and Addrin Coats. The three were killed at an apartment on April 2, 2018, in the 1100 block of Tenny Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas.

According to court documents, one of the victims was shot four times, with two shots to the head and two of the shots within five feet; another victim was shot four times, including once in the back of the head; and a third victim was shot six times, including three shots to the head.

Douglas was shown on surveillance video entering and leaving the apartment building at night around the time of the murders, court documents stated. A neighbor testified she heard what sounded like an argument, loud voices and screaming about five minutes before the gunshots.

Douglas also was seen on a video buying a rare type of ammunition that was used in the murder. The ammunition sale took place at Cabelas at 3:45 p.m. on the day of the murder, according to court documents. Police recovered the shell casings at the scene.

According to today’s Supreme Court opinion written by Justice Dan Biles, the court rejected Douglas’ trial error claims, including an argument that Wyandotte County District Court committed reversible error by failing to instruct the jury on both second-degree intentional murder and voluntary manslaughter as a lesser included offense, and his argument that the prosecutor committed reversible error when he used the rhetorical phrase “we know” during the closing argument.

On the instructional claim, the court stated that given the overwhelming evidence presented at trial, Douglas failed to convince the court that the lower court’s failure was not reversible error.

With regard to the prosecutorial error claim, the Supreme Court found the prosecutor erred when he used “we know” in conveying his personal opinion about who killed the victims, but ultimately concluded that error was harmless as the strong evidence supported his convictions.