Herrod to appear in court after high-speed chase

NEWTON — Kenneth C. Herrod, 22, of Newton will make his first appearance in court Oct. 24, facing charges from a night during which he allegedly committed crimes in Newton, was involved in a high-speed chase with law enforcement and ended with the death of William M. Holmes.

Herrod was one of two people in a vehicle chased by police after a reported assault, burglaries and theft in Newton. When the car driven by Holmes was stopped near Moundridge, both Herrod and Holmes initially refused the get out of the car.

When they did get out, Herrod was arrested. Holmes allegedly fought with police before being shot by a McPherson County Sheriff's Deputy.

According to the complaint filed by Harvey County Attorney David Yoder, Herrod is charged with aiding and abetting assault for “unlawfully, feloniously and knowingly” placing a woman in “reasonable apprehension of immediate bodily harm” with a vehicle.

According to police reports from that night, Holmes nearly ran over a woman who confronted Holmes and Herrod after burglaries in the 300 Block of Lakeshore Drive.

Herrod is also charged with Burglary and Theft. According to the complaint, Herrod entered two cars to try and commit theft, and attempted to steal a car charger and compact discs from within one car and documents including a vehicle registration and insurance cards from a second. Burglary is considered a felony. The theft in the case, due to the value of what was allegedly taken, is considered a misdemeanor.

The Kansan has filed an open records request for probable cause affidavits in the case.

Herrod will also make a first appearance on separate charges of failure to register as an offender in 2017. According to court records, he was previously convicted of rape as a juvenile in 2011.

A first appearance is the first time a person appears in court. During the appearance, a judge will address four main issues. First, the judge will make sure the defendant knows what they are charged with, and will offer to formally read the charges if the defendant wishes. Second, the judge will make sure that the defendant has an attorney. If the defendant has not been able to hire an attorney the judge will provisionally appoint an attorney to represent the defendant. Third, the judge will address any questions about a bond. The judge could lower a bond or change conditions of the bond. Fourth, the judge will inform the defendant of when and where the next hearing will be.

According to Yoder, his office was in the process of prosecuting an assault and battery case against Willam H. Holmes, 24, of Newton when the shooting occurred.

Holmes had been arrested after an altercation at the skate park in Okerberg Park in Newton. Holmes was convicted after pleading no contest in a plea agreement and was awaiting sentencing when the chase on I-135 occurred. He was allegedly wrestling with officers and attempting to gain control of an officer's weapon before being shot by a McPherson Sheriff's Deputy Aug. 28.

Holmes died at a hospital in Moundridge after the shooting.

At about 10:35 p.m. Aug. 28, Newton Police were notified of attempted burglaries in the 300 Block of Lakeshore Drive.

The driver of a car was confronted by homeowners in that area before the chase began. About four minutes later, Newton Police located the car.

At about 10:37 p.m., Newton police officers attempted to stop a vehicle reported to have been involved in a car burglary.

The vehicle fled the scene and led officers on a high-speed chase north on I-135.

According to police, speeds reached 150 miles per hour as the car, driven by Holmes, fled northbound.

After running over stop sticks, the car kept moving despite one of the front wheels losing a tire and running on a bare rim. The car came to rest in the median near mile marker 51 — about 20 miles from where the chase began. The car's occupants did not emerge for several minutes.

According to a Newton Police Department news release and later press conference, when Holmes emerged, he became combative. According to police, officers used other non-lethal options — including beanbag rounds, a Taser and a K-9 — to subdue Holmes, but those efforts were unsuccessful. When Holmes allegedly tried to kick the K-9 in the head, an officer attempted to physically subdue the driver, police said.

Holmes reportedly tried to take an officer's gun. According to police, at that point, the officer alerted other officers. A McPherson County Sheriff's deputy saw the driver trying to take the gun and "felt compelled to use lethal force to protect our officer's life," police said.

First aid was given and Holmes was transported to a hospital in Moundridge and later died. Herrod was taken into custody.

The McPherson County deputy was placed on leave and questioned by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation has taken the lead in the death investigation, as is standard for officer involved shootings in the state of Kansas.