The mother of a 17-year-old who was shot to death last year by police said she didn’t learn until early Thursday afternoon that a trial was under way at the Sedgwick County Courthouse where details of her son’s shooting were being presented to a jury.
“I still have no answers as to what happened to my son,” Shakeitha Scales said. “All I know is the police killed him.”
Scales said she drove to the courthouse after her brother called about 1 p.m. to tell her about the trial, where witnesses have been testifying since Tuesday about the home-invasion robbery that ended in the shooting death by police of Timothy Collins.
“They kept me in the dark when they killed him, and they’re keeping me in the dark now that the trial’s started,” Scales said in an interview outside the courtroom.
Prosecutors said Collins was with a group of four men who forced their way into a home at 1201 W. Crawford on April 13, 2012, and held seven people at gunpoint during the robbery. Testimony at the trial showed that one of the victims used a cellphone to call 911 when she was allowed to go to the basement to check on a sleeping 2-year-old child.
Prosecutors said arriving officers opened fire after three of the suspects ran out a back door and at least one of them pointed a gun at an officer.
One of the three, Reginald Vaughn, 21, is standing trial this week on 11 felony charges, including aggravated assault on a police officer and seven counts of kidnapping.
Among those testifying Thursday was crime scene investigator Kevin Brasser, who said the two officers fired a total of 10 rounds – three from a shotgun and seven from a semi-automatic pistol.
Brasser said the shotgun rounds were fired over a chain-link fence from the yard next door to the robbery scene. He said the other shots were fired from a corner of a shed in the backyard of the home.
Brasser said he recovered two handguns at the scene that were dropped by the suspects, including a .32-caliber revolver that was cocked and ready to fire.
“There were two live rounds in the cylinder at the time I collected it,” he said. “The pistol was also loaded with six live rounds including one in the chamber.”
He said neither of the guns had been fired.
Defense lawyer Mark Sevart contends that his client went to the home to get some marijuana and was not aware of any plans to rob it. He told the jury in his opening statement that police opened fire on his client without provocation and without identifying themselves as officers.
Scales went to the Wichita City Council in November trying to get information about her son’s shooting. Mayor Carl Brewer said at the time that she would get answers as soon as possible.
She said Thursday that she still hasn’t been given an explanation about what happened, though she knows that an autopsy report shows that the bullet that killed her son struck him in the right side of the back of his head and exited through the left side of his forehead.
“I know what he did wasn’t right but he should have been judged by a jury, not shot in the back of the head,” she said.
District Attorney Marc Bennett said his office routinely shares information with crime victims whose cases are going to court.
“The office of the district attorney makes every effort to share relevant information with victims and their families regarding the handling and scheduling of cases,” he said. “Conversely, we cannot share case information generally with individuals who are not identified as victims or the family of victims in a case.”