After jury selection on Monday, a trial to determine innocence or guilt of a local man facing multiple felony charges involving his former female companion.
The complaint against Richard C. Butler, 44, of Atchison, charges him with rape, aggravated criminal sodomy, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault; aggravated domestic battery; criminal threat, criminal damage to property, all felonies; and misdemeanor counts intimidation of a victim and harassment by a telecommunication device.
Two women occupy the seats among a majority of males comprising the jury panel. The jurors heard opening arguments from Atchison County Attorney Sherri Becker. Becker told jurors they would be hearing about a 2.5-year relationship had ended within recent days before the suspect and victim went out for dinner with friends. The jurors will also hear about the alleged sequence of events that unfolded on or about May 11, 2019 at an Atchison residence, Becker said. She told jurors she expects to present evidence collected from the Stormont Vail Hospital sexual assault nurse examiner, sexual assault response teams and criminal investigators.
The current trial in progress marks the second start of a trial proceeding for Butler. The initial trial commenced in December, 2019, but was halted after a finding of a mistrial that stemmed from a remark that concerned inadmissible evidence heard during the testimony in the presence of the jury.
Three days have been reserved on the court calendar this week to accommodate the current trial.
Conviction, new arrest comes on same day
A jail inmate was arrested for new crimes within several hours after she was convicted Friday in district court for an aggravated battery committed during December in south Atchison.
As of Tuesday, potential charges remained under the prosecutor’s review against 35-year-old Katie M. Thomas.
Atchison County Sheriff Jack Laurie reports that Thomas’ most recent arrest stemmed from an altercation between her and jail staff. Thomas was arrested about 6:45 p.m. Friday, March 13 for battery, criminal damage to property and interference with law enforcement.
“There were no injuries to the officer,” Laurie said.
Thomas is currently incarcerated in the jail awaiting sentencing for aggravated battery, a felony crime punishable by 11 to 34 months in state prison. Thomas had pleaded guilty to the charge that morning in Atchison County District Court.
Thomas’ conviction arose from her arrest by police responders after an altercation Dec. 27, 2019 that resulted in a female acquaintance struck in the face with a glass bottle. The victim suffered a broken nose and other injuries.
Sentencing for Thomas is scheduled for the 9 a.m. criminal docket on Friday, April 24.
event put on hold
The upcoming Coffee with the USD 409 Superintendent Renee Scott scheduled for Friday has been postponed until a later date.
The Coffee was a planned sequel to the inaugural event that took place during the first semester in the community room at the board office. Scott’s Coffee events are intended to be a time for community members to informally gather with the superintendent to become acquainted and discuss issues of interest in the district.