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Jury acquits man of all charges in May 2012 homicide

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, April 30, 2013, at 11:09 a.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, at 10:21 a.m.

A 32-year-old man was found not guilty of all charges Tuesday in the May 19, 2012, shooting death of another man during a confrontation in south Wichita.

Dustin Cheever was scheduled to be released Tuesday afternoon from the Sedgwick County Jail where he was held for 11 months in the shooting death of Robert Gammon, 49.

A Sedgwick County jury deliberated for just over four hours before finding Cheever not guilty of a variety of charges that included second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and aggravated assault.

Defense lawyer Steve Mank said jurors told him they only seriously considered the charge of involuntary manslaughter before settling on the not-guilty verdict. Involuntary manslaughter is the reckless but unintentional killing of a human being.

Gammon’s brother, Jim Gammon of West Plains, Mo., said he didn’t understand why Cheever wasn’t tried and convicted of first-degree murder.

“It’s outrageous,” he said. “A human life is worth more than three, five, seven or nine years. You take a life you should get a life took.”

Jim Gammon also said he thought that several men who were with Cheever on the night of the shooting should have been charged with aiding and abetting the murder.

“In the state of Missouri, they all would’ve gone to the penitentiary,” he said.

Wichita police said the shooting occurred around midnight after Cheever and another man went to Gammon’s home to look for a motorcycle that had been stolen from the friend.

After leaving the backyard without finding the motorcycle, Cheever told the jury, he and his friend were confronted by Gammon, his son and his son’s friend. Cheever said he and his friend both thought that a BB gun that Gammon carried that night was real.

Cheever said he pulled a .40-caliber pistol from his back pocket and opened fire when it appeared that Gammon was about to shoot his friend. Police said four of the six shots fired by Cheever struck Gammon – two in the head and one each in the chest and right wrist.

Reach Hurst Laviana at 316-268-6499 or hlaviana@wichitaeagle.com.

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