A preliminary hearing in the murder of Tabor student Brandon Brown was stopped in its tracks Monday because of the absence of a witness.
The hearing for defendants Dequinte Oshea Flournoy and Alton Franklin on charges of aiding and abetting murder in the second degree was continued until Jan. 31.
Flournoy and Franklin are both former McPherson College football players from Dallas and were 19 at the time of their arrests.
Torry Hamill, 19, a McPherson College student, testified Monday in McPherson County District Court he was at a party at 438 N. Carrie St. the late night of Sept. 15 and early morning of Sept. 16.
Brown, 26, of Southern California, was found beaten outside of that party. He died of his injuries at a Wichita hospital on Sept. 23.
Hamill said Brown, and fellow Tabor student and football player Ilai Eteaki, were asked to leave the party. The Tabor students were pushed out of the house. Shortly after, a for sale sign that had been in the yard smashed through the house's front window.
When questioned by McPherson County Attorney David Page, Hamill said he saw Franklin strike Brown on the cheek, at which time Brown fell to the ground. He then testified he saw Flournoy strike Brown while he was on the ground.
During cross examination, Hamill said he was not sure it was Flournoy who struck Brown while he was on the ground.
He said another McPherson College student at the party, Taajon Richardson, told him it had been Flournoy who had struck Brown the second time.
During cross examination, Hamill said the police had threatened to charge him with a crime during questioning. He also said the police had told him Flournoy was a suspect in the case.
Page said Richardson has left McPherson College and moved out of state. Page said a subpoena for Richardson had been returned undeliverable. Page requested the hearing be continued for two weeks so a material witness warrant could be issued for Richardson, compelling him to appear for the hearing.
The defense attorneys in the case, David Harger for Franklin and Kevin Loeffler for Flournoy, urged Judge Richard Walker to deny the motion, arguing their defendants had been in jail long enough.
Walker reluctantly granted the continuance, but noted finding time to schedule a continuance of the case was very difficult due to the recent and sudden retirement of Judge Carl Anderson.
Walker said he would not continue the preliminary hearing past Jan. 31.
"I will rule on whatever is available on that day," Walker said.
In testimony earlier in the day, Dr. Timothy Gorill, a forensics pathologist from Wichita, testified Brown's death was a result of complications from blunt force trauma to the head. However, he said Brown's blood alcohol level, which was 0.3 (more than three times the legal limit to drive) also contributed to Brown's death.
Page 2 of 2 - Harger's co-counsel Ann Parkins asked Gorill if Fentanyl, a drug administered to Brown during treatment for his injuries, could have interacted with the alcohol in his system.
Gorill said he did not know.
During testimony from McPherson Police Patrol Sgt. Jason Johnston, information emerged that a knife, belonging to Brown's friend Eteaki had been found at the scene.
Johnston said the knife had a drop of blood on the blade and smeared blood on the handle.
Det. Mikel Golden testified that during an interview with Flournoy before his arrest, Flournoy told him on the night of the party, he had seen Brown with a knife before the two Tabor students were forced out of the house on Carrie.
However, Johnston said the knife was not found in Brown's possession when police arrived. He said the knife was found about a foot away from a pool of blood in the yard but not next to where police found Brown lying.