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Wichita man convicted on 10 of 11 counts in officer-involved shooting case

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, July 31, 2013, at 8:05 p.m.

A Wichita man charged with pointing a gun at police officer while trying to flee the scene of a home-invasion robbery was convicted Wednesday on 10 of 11 charges filed against him.

But after deliberating for more than a day, a jury was unable to reach a verdict on the most volatile charge in the case: aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer

District Judge Warren Wilbert declared a mistrial on the aggravated assault charge and ordered Ronald Vaughn, 21, to return to court for sentencing on the remaining charges on Sept. 10.

Vaughn was one of four men who were charged with holding seven people at gunpoint during an April 13, 2012, robbery of a home in the 1200 block of West Crawford. One of the suspects, Timothy Collins, 17, was killed when he was struck in the head by a bullet fired by a police officer. Vaughn was wounded by a shotgun blast fired by another officer.

Vaughn told the jury that he and his friends went to the house to buy marijuana, and he said police were called after one of the residents of the house began fighting wityh Collins about money. Vaughn testified that he was unarmed when he ran out the back door of the house and was struck by a shotgun blast that was fired by an officer without provocation.

The officer testified that he yelled “Stop! Police!” before firing the shot that struck Vaughn. Prosecutors argued that even if Vaughn didn’t hear the warning, he knew that police were at the scene and should have seen that the man he was pointing his gun at was wearing a police uniform. The jury also was told that Vaughn said in the hospital, “The guy who shot me shot me right because it made me drop the gun.”

But the evidence also included audio and video from a camera that another officer was wearing at the time of the shooting. Although the sound of the gunfire was heard clearly on the tape when it was played to the jury, it did not pick up the sound of officers ordering the suspects to stop. Defense lawyer Mark Sevart argued that the audio from the camera offered reasonable doubt about his client’s guilt on the aggravated assault charge.

Reach Hurst Laviana at 316-268-6499 or hlaviana@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @hlaviana.

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