"Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill it teaches the whole people by its example.
Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a law breaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself."
–Supreme Court Justice Brandeis

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Topeka, KS: Teen Enters Plea in Toddler Death

Note: Cross posted from [wp angelfury] KS-Family Court Reform Coalition.


Teen enters plea in toddler's death




Created November 21, 2009 at 7:05pm

Updated November 22, 2009 at 12:29am

A teenager who was to stand trial in December for the shooting death of a toddler in a central Topeka apartment has pleaded guilty to unintentional murder.

Sylk Je'non White, 16, of Topeka, was arrested Oct. 19, 2008, two days after the Tre'vonte Christopher "Ducky" Williams-Lucas, 3, was shot in the head in a second-floor apartment at the Cathedral Square building of the Winstone Apartment complex, 800 S.W. Polk. Tre'vonte died the afternoon after the shooting.

White, who was 15 at the time, was scheduled to stand trial Dec. 1 on a charge of intentional second-degree murder. The trial was canceled Friday when he pleaded guilty to the alternative charge of unintentional but reckless second-degree murder. Shawnee County District Court records indicate the intentional murder charge also was dismissed Friday.

Topeka police Detective Karim Hazim testified at a Nov. 5 pretrial hearing that White had a pistol, he didn't know it was loaded, and pointed the gun at little Tre'vonte. White pulled the trigger, the pistol fired, and the child was struck, Hazim said White told him.

White and Tre'Vonte were cousins. A man and a young girl were in the apartment with them when a revolver accidentally discharged, family members said.

Police announced on the day of Tre'vonte's death that investigators were having problems locating White, who was described then as a "material witness" in the shooting. He was located the following day at the Plaza Inn Motel, 3810 S.W. Topeka Blvd. He originally was arrested on a warrant for aggravated robbery.

White, who was charged as an adult in the case, is scheduled for sentencing at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 29 in front of District Court Judge Richard Anderson.

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