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Murder trial halted after defendant hurt in jailhouse fight

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014, at 11:05 a.m.
  • Updated Monday, March 24, 2014, at 12:36 p.m.

The first-degree murder trial of a man charged in the shooting death of a former South High School football player has been postponed for the rest of the week so the defendant can recover from injuries he received in a jailhouse scuffle.

Lawyers in the case said Kristofer Wright, 21, was injured after leaving court on Tuesday, and that the fight with the other inmate was not related to the trial.

District Judge Joseph Bribiesca, who is presiding at the trial, was told that medical staff at the jail were still assessing the extent of Wright’s injuries, but that he would be able to appear in court again on Monday.

Lawyers spent Monday and Tuesday morning picking a jury in the case, but bad weather forced the cancellation of court on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday. Opening statements were scheduled to begin Thursday morning.

Bribiesca instead told the jury that the defendant was ill and would not be able to appear again for the rest of the week. The jurors all agreed to return on Monday.

Turner’s body was found May 1 in a cotton field near Pawnee and 127th Street East, and investigators later said he had been shot at least twice.

A witness testified at a preliminary hearing in the case that Wright shot Turner, 19, during a dispute that arose after one of the other suspects in the case accused Turner of robbing her.

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

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