Crime & Courts

Attorney pulls grenade pin in court

HUTCHINSON — The Reno County Sheriff's Office is investigating the actions of a defense attorney who pulled out a hand grenade in court this week, pulled the pin and set it on the prosecutor's table.

Sam Kepfield said the grenade was a dud and was meant to demonstrate to jurors what is meant by the term "imminent threat." The attorney pulled out the grenade Monday while representing a woman accused of forgery and theft.

His client, Anastasia Daily, claimed a co-defendant in the case threatened to kill her dog and hurt her daughter if she didn't participate in the forgery of stolen checks. That man, John Bradshaw, denied those allegations on the witness stand.

Before placing the grenade in front of Assistant District Attorney Amanda Voth, Kepfield placed it on a ledge in front of the jury box during closing arguments and asked jurors, "Are you afraid now?" Voth said she was surprised and didn't object.

District Judge Richard Rome ordered Kepfield to remove the grenade from the table.

Voth said Kepfield was using the dead grenade as an example of compulsion, trying to make the case that Daily was threatened with great bodily harm to commit the crimes.

Jurors took 15 minutes to find Daily guilty of forgery, conspiracy to commit forgery and misdemeanor theft.

After the trial, jurors told Rome they were not frightened by the grenade. Still, both Rome and District Attorney Keith Schroeder reported the incident to the sheriff.

Sheriff's Capt. Wayne Baughman said it's illegal for anyone to bring weapons of any kind — even if they're fake — into a courtroom without authorization.

Kepfield said he did not tell Voth he planned to pull out the hand grenade during his closing arguments, but noted that he isn't obliged to get those arguments cleared ahead of time.

Schroeder said several attorneys in his office would be witnesses if the case goes far enough. He said he would let others decide whether there was wrongdoing, and if so, what should be done.

He said he would turn over any information from the sheriff's investigation to the Kansas attorney general's office.