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Ottawa killings could bring death penalty

  • Kansas City Star
  • Published Friday, May 10, 2013, at 9:11 p.m.
  • Updated Friday, May 17, 2013, at 2:48 p.m.

— A Kansas man suspected of killing three adults and a young child on a farm near Ottawa now faces a bevy of murder charges, two of which could bring the death penalty.

As the search for the youngest victim’s body continued miles away, Kyle Trevor Flack, 27, made his first court appearance late Friday afternoon.

Franklin County District Judge Eric W. Godderz appointed death penalty specialist Ronald Evans of Topeka to represent Flack, who suggested he wanted to meet his attorney quickly.

“Will I have a chance to talk to my attorney before my next court date?” Flack asked.

The judge said he would try to arrange it.

“The sooner I see him the sooner we can wrap this up,” Flack responded, without elaborating.

A host of developments in the case emerged Friday. Authorities revealed that one of the homicide victims had been raped before her death.

The search for that victim’s 18-month-old daughter remained fruitless, but authorities acknowledge that her body could be anywhere between Ottawa, where the killings happened, and Emporia, where her mother’s car was found. Searches were underway at multiple locations, investigators said, including in ponds, streams and fields.

And authorities declined to discuss a possible motive for the killings. Investigators revealed they had received more than 300 tips in the case this week.

Citing the nature of the charges and Flack’s prior conviction for attempted murder, prosecutors asked that he be held in lieu of a $10 million bond.

Before the hearing, Flack, wearing shackles and a striped jumpsuit, flashed an obscene gesture to reporters who shouted questions to him as officers escorted him to court.

He did not enter pleas, but he has another court appearance scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Monday.

Investigators emphasized that they remained focused on finding the body of 18-month-old Lana-Leigh Bailey of Olathe.

Her mother and two men were killed on a farm near Ottawa, and although Lana-Leigh hasn’t been found, evidence indicates she is dead, authorities have said without elaborating. Early Friday afternoon, several investigators on horseback checked both sides of K-68 near the Marais des Cygnes River. A squad car followed closely behind them.

The bodies of Kaylie Bailey, 21, Andrew Stout, 30, and Steven E. White, 31, were found earlier this week. Friends looking for Stout discovered Bailey’s body under a tarp in the home’s garage Monday. Officials found a second body Monday and the third Tuesday.

Flack faces two charges that carry a possible death penalty. One accuses him of killing Stout, Bailey and Lana-Leigh as part of one course of action sometime between April 28 and May 6. The second capital charge accused Flack of killing Bailey while he raped her or afterward. Prosecutors also included a conventional rape count in their charges.

White’s death allegedly occurred earlier than the others, sometime between April 20 and April 28. His death is charged as a conventional first-degree murder, court records said.

Flack also is accused of criminally possessing a firearm.

At a news conference after Flack’s court appearance, Franklin County Attorney Stephen Hunting said his office has not made a final decision about whether it will seek the death penalty.

Kansas corrections records showed that Flack was released on parole from a state prison in Hutchinson in July 2009 after serving part of a five-year sentence for attempted second-degree murder.

Flack completed his parole in April 2012, according to the records.

Earlier he had pleaded guilty to attempting to kill Steve Free by shooting him on May 2, 2005, in a work dispute. Free died from cancer in December 2011.

Members of Free’s family said Thursday that they’d been told that Flack was to have been under parole supervision for 15 years.

A transcript of Flack’s Sept. 12, 2005, sentencing hearing showed, however, that he received a 59-month prison sentence as part of a plea agreement with Franklin County prosecutors and was ordered to be supervised for 36 months after his release from custody.

The prison sentence was midway between 55 to 61 months, which was the recommended term for a crime of that severity and for a defendant with Flack’s criminal history, the transcript showed.

“He served the time the Legislature thought was appropriate,” Hunting said Friday.

And, with Franklin County Sheriff Jeff Richards, Hunting addressed the search for Lana-Leigh.

“Mr. Flack has not indicated where Lana is,” Hunting said.

Richards said searchers have used horses, all-terrain vehicles, an FBI aircraft and a Kansas Highway Patrol helicopter. And an Overland Park police dive team searched a farm pond but found nothing, Richards said.

The sheriff noted that authorities arrested Flack about 60 miles away from Ottawa and reiterated that the search area could be quite large.

“We are going to put every effort to bring her home,” Richards said.

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