Kansas court mulls case of man facing death for 4 shootings

Jan 31, 2022, 11:16 AM | Updated: 2:51 pm

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas’ highest court wrestled Monday with whether a man invoked his right to remain silent before making statements that were key to him being convicted of capital murder in the fatal shootings of three adults and a toddler.

Kyle Trevor Flack is asking the state Supreme Court to overturn his death sentence and convictions for capital murder and other crimes. A jury in Franklin County, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southwest of Kansas City, found him guilty in 2016 of the April 2013 shootings of Kaylie Bailey, 21, from the Kansas City area; her 18-month-old daughter, Lana; Andrew Stout, 30, of Ottawa in Franklin County, and Steven White, 31, also from Ottawa.

The adults’ bodies were found on a farm, while the toddler’s body was found in a suitcase in a rural creek.

Flack’s state-appointed attorney for his appeal raised numerous issues both about his trial and the separate hearing in which the jury recommended the death penalty. But the Kansas Supreme Court’s hearing Monday focused heavily on whether prosecutors should have been allowed to present as evidence incriminating statements Flack made about White’s murder.

Capital appellate defender Clayton Perkins said prosecutors built their case against Flack on his incriminating statements. Perkins said that when officers interrogated Flack, he made statements nine times showing that he wanted to remain silent and end the interrogation, including, “Take me to jail! Take me to jail! Take me to jail!”

“That is something that objectively reasonable officers would recognize as an invocation of these rights,” Perkins told the court.

But Kristafer Ailslieger, the state’s assistant solicitor general, argued that before his incriminating statements, Flack never told officers explicitly that he wanted to end the interview.

“It has to be clear and unambiguous,” Ailslieger said, quoting the U.S. Supreme Court’s standard on the issue. “Which we don’t have in this case.”

Flack is one of nine men on death row in Kansas, which has not executed anyone since 1965. The Supreme Court is expected to take at least several months to issue a ruling in Flack’s case.

Even after Flack’s trial, it wasn’t clear what led to the shootings, which detectives believe happened over separate days. The defense argued that Flack, who was 28 at the time of the crimes and is now 36, suffered from a severe mental illness that caused him to hear voices throughout adulthood.

Prosecutors said they had strong circumstantial evidence linking Flack to the crimes in addition to his incriminating statements.

The court’s seven justices peppered both sides with questions about whether Flack’s statements about wanting to be taken to jail in effect was a demand to end his interrogation so that he could remain silent and rely on his constitutional right not to incriminate himself. Officers eventually did cut off their interview.

“The clear and unambiguous way to end an interview is to say, ‘I’m done talking. We’re done here. I’m not talking anymore,'” Justice Caleb Stegall said. “That doesn’t happen here.”

Yet Justice Evelyn Wilson wondered whether Flack had to use “magic words” to invoke his right to remain silent.

Justice Dan Biles said the video recording of the interrogation suggested that one officer understood that Flack wanted to stop it, and she told him, “Help yourself, Kyle,” which seemed to be “a signal to keep talking.”

“And I’m troubled by that,” Biles said.

___

Follow John Hanna on Twitter: https://twitter.com/apjdhanna

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Musher Jessie Holmes takes a break from cooking his dogs a meal to nuzzle with two wheel dog...
Associated Press

Alaska reality star injured while cleaning up storm damage

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A reality television star and Iditarod musher was injured this week while helping clean up storm damage along Alaska’s western coast. Jessie Holmes, who since 2015 has starred in “Life Below Zero,” a show about life in rural Alaska produced by National Geographic TV, was injured by falling debris in a […]
16 hours ago
American's Andy Huynh, right, and Alex Drueke arrive at the TWA Hotel on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022 in ...
Associated Press

U.S. captives ‘prayed for death’ on brutal ride from Ukraine

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Even after three months of captivity that included execution threats, physical torture, solitary confinement and food deprivation, it was the ride to freedom that nearly broke Alex Drueke, a U.S. military veteran released last week with nine other prisoners who went to help Ukraine fight off Russian invaders. His hands were […]
16 hours ago
Associated Press

Plea deal for Ex-Trump adviser accused of unwanted advances

LAS VEGAS (AP) — An ex-adviser to former President Donald Trump has taken a plea deal to resolve allegations that he made unwanted sexual advances to a GOP donor at a Las Vegas event. Corey Lewandowski entered into a plea agreement earlier this month involving a charge of misdemeanor battery, according to online Clark County […]
16 hours ago
Associated Press

Trump fraud lawsuit goes to judge who held him in contempt

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York attorney general’s lawsuit accusing Donald Trump and his company of fraud has been assigned to a state court judge who repeatedly ruled against the former president in related subpoena disputes — including holding him in contempt, fining him $110,000 and forcing him to sit for a deposition. Trump’s […]
16 hours ago
FILE - Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp smiles as he stands next to a Rivian electric truck during a ceremon...
Associated Press

Georgia judge nixes tax break for electric truck firm Rivian

ATLANTA (AP) — A Georgia judge rejected an agreement that would have provided a huge property tax break to Rivian Automotive, clouding the upstart electric truck maker’s plans to build a plant east of Atlanta. Morgan County Superior Court Judge Brenda Trammell rejected what is normally a routine request by a local government to validate […]
16 hours ago
This combination of photos shows, from left, Demi Lovato, Jack Harlow and Dua Lipa, who will perfor...
Associated Press

Jack Harlow, Dua Lipa, Demi Lovato headline Jingle Ball tour

NEW YORK (AP) — iHeartRadio has unveiled a starry rotating lineup for the winter 2022 iHeartRadio Jingle Ball tour, including sets by Jack Harlow, Dua Lipa, Backstreet Boys, Demi Lovato, Lizzo and Charlie Puth. The 11-city tour will hit Fort Worth, Texas; Los Angeles; Chicago; Detroit; New York City; Boston; Philadelphia; Atlanta; Tampa and Ft. […]
16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
...
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
Kansas court mulls case of man facing death for 4 shootings