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Jury to begin deliberating in Wichita State gun possession trial

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, March 31, 2014, at 8:28 p.m.
  • Updated Monday, March 31, 2014, at 8:28 p.m.

A six-member jury will begin deliberations Tuesday in the trial of a former Wichita State University student charged with illegally carrying a firearm in the lobby of the Wheatshocker Apartments.

Both sides agree that John W. Bannon had a 9mm pistol tucked in his waistband last spring as he sat in the lobby of the apartments. They disagree over whether it was against the law.

Bannon is charged with a misdemeanor count of carrying a concealed weapon. The only contested issue at the trial is whether the lobby was part of Bannon’s home.

Wheatshocker policy bars residents from bringing weapons into the building. Bannon, who was a senior, was evicted from the apartments after his arrest.

The jury is now being asked to decide whether Bannon was in his home when he was arrested.

“The state’s position is that he was not,” prosecutor Tom Weilert said.

Defense lawyer Richard Ney disagreed.

“This was John’s abode, where he lives,” he told the jury.

Two WSU police officers testified that they went to the complex at 4000 E. 17th St. at about 9:30 p.m. on March 27, 2013, to investigate a report that a resident of the complex had a gun.

Sgt. Bryson Potter said that when he first confronted Bannon, Bannon denied having a weapon. Another officer then patted Bannon down and found the gun in his waistband. Bannon told the officers that he forgot he had the gun and that he had planned to leave it in his car.

The only defense witness was Steve Larson, who was in charge of the apartment complex.

He told Ney that Bannon and other residents of the complex have more authority to control what goes on in the lobby than someone who doesn’t live there.

Under cross-examination by Weilert, Larson said Bannon did not have the authority to kick someone out of the lobby the way he had authority to kick someone out of his apartment.

The trial is being held in the courtroom of District Judge Christopher Magana.

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

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