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Monday, July 28, 2014

Suspect in deputy's shooting had violent past

BY TIM POTTER
The Wichita Eagle

The 27-year-old man accused this week of ambushing a Sedgwick County sheriff's deputy had a history of violence against his ex-wife — and against officers.

In 2005, Richard Lyons' ex-wife, Jenifer, accused him of holding a hunting knife to her throat and threatening to kill her after she called 911, an affidavit filed in Sedgwick County District Court said.

Lyons pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and served several months in the county jail followed by about 16 months in a state prison.

He was released on parole on March 2, 2007. His sentence and parole supervision ended on April 11, 2008, records show.

In March 2005, four Wichita police officers responded to a report of a disturbance with a knife at his ex-wife's home in the 900 block of South Waverly, in southeast Wichita.

Lyons had arrived and "demanded she give him their infant daughter," the affidavit said.

She reported that they argued and that after she called 911, Lyons held a 4- to 6-inch knife blade to her throat and threatened her. The knife reportedly came from a sheath attached to his pants.

"Jenifer said she hung up the phone because she was in fear for her life and believed Richard would carry out his threat," said the document, used to bring the felony aggravated assault charge against Lyons.

On the 911 call, a male voice could be heard saying, "I will cut you," the affidavit said.

When he went to get a diaper bag in another part of the house, his ex-wife grabbed her two children and fled, the affidavit said.

At the home, officers found signs of a disturbance, and when they tried to arrest Lyons, he punched two officers, the document said.

Although prosecutors also initially charged him with two counts of misdemeanor battery against an officer, those two charges were dismissed after he agreed to plead guilty to the more serious charge of aggravated assault, records show.

His ex-wife obtained a protection-from-abuse order against Lyons.

In April 2005, about a month after the incident involving his ex-wife, court records show Lyons was living at the house where he is accused of shooting Deputy Brian Etheridge this week — first with a rifle and then with the deputy's own gun.

Etheridge was responding to a 911 call from the South Rock Road residence, reporting a theft — a report authorities now think was concocted.

In Lyons' 2005 divorce case, court records say he was working for Colortime in El Dorado at the time. The court at one point required him to pay $234 a month in child support.

At another point in 2005, Lyons temporarily lost visitation with his 1 1/2-year-old daughter because of the incident involving his ex-wife.

On Tuesday, a man who said he was Lyons' father declined to comment.

Lyons' ex-wife could not be reached.

In September 2003, about two years before the knife incident, Lyons was convicted of misdemeanor battery against an officer.

In the years before that, he had been convicted of felony criminal threat and misdemeanor domestic battery and criminal damage to property, records show.

As a juvenile, he had misdemeanor convictions dating to 1995, when he was 12, for criminal damage to property.

Wichita school district records show that Lyons withdrew from Metro Boulevard Alternative High School in July 2002.

Contributing: Hurst Laviana of The Eagle Reach Tim Potter at 316-268-6684 or tpotter@wichitaeagle.com.

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