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Jury acquits man of murder charge in 2012 robbery

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, Dec. 13, 2013, at 11:42 a.m.

A Sedgwick County jury on Friday found a Wichita man not guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of a 34-year-old man during a robbery in his North Broadway apartment last year.

Christopher M. Brown, 30, was convicted at an earlier trial of attempted aggravated robbery for his role in the shooting at the Interdale Apartments, 916 N. Broadway on July 9, 2012. Wichita police said Ronald Wilson died of a gunshot wound to the head.

Brown’s lawyer, Defense lawyer Steve Wagle, said his client testified this week that he was in Wilson’s apartment when another man, Matthew McDaniel, 23, pulled out a gun and shot Wilson.

McDaniel was convicted by another jury in July first-degree murder and aggravated robbery. He is scheduled to be sentenced in March.

A third defendant, Kendall Gentry, 24, reached a plea agreement with prosecutors that called for him to testify for the state in return for the dismissal of a murder charge against him. The agreement calls for Gentry to plead guilty to aggravated robbery.

At Brown’s first trial in July, a jury convicted him of attempted aggravated robbery but was unable to reach a verdict on the murder charge.

The jury in Brown’s second trial deliberated about 40 minutes late Thursday before submitting a question to District Judge William Woolley that asked if they could know whether McDaniel had been charged and convicted in the case. Woolley did not directly answer the question, but instead referred jurors to earlier instructions he had given them.

The jury deliberated about 20 more minutes on Friday morning before reaching its not guilty verdict.

Brown will be sentenced Jan. 29, on the attempted robbery charge.

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

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