A Sedgwick County judge on Friday refused to order the release of the name of a tipster who collected a $1,000 Crime Stoppers reward for information that led to four arrests in a Wichita murder case.
District Judge Greg Waller said in his ruling that he saw no evidence that authorities know the tipster’s name, and he said he didn’t know that the identity of the tipster was essential to the defense.
The case in question involves the May 1 shooting death of Jordan Turner, 19, who was found shot to death in a field near 127th Street East and Pawnee. Crime Stoppers received the tip the next day, after Turner’s body had been identified.
Four suspects were quickly arrested, and three are now charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder. The fourth has agreed to testify for the prosecution.
Wichita lawyer Craig Robinson, who is representing defendant Ebony Nguyen, went to court Friday to try to learn who was behind the Crime Stoppers tip.
“The confidential informant had intricate knowledge that led to investigators centering on Ebony Nguyen,” he said. “We’re asking the court to know who the confidential informant is.”
Robinson argued that he should be allowed to confront the informant in court.
Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Amyx called Robinson’s efforts “a quintessential fishing expedition.”
“That tip, in and of itself, did not implicate the defendant,” she told Waller. “It did not directly implicate the defendant in any way.”
She said Nguyen’s name came up through interviews with others who were named in the tip.
She also said that Crime Stoppers’ system of collecting information anonymously makes it impossible to identify those who leave tips.
“The way Crime Stoppers is set up, there is no information available to be turned over to the defendant,” she said.
Nguyen is scheduled to stand trial Dec. 16.