A hearing held Friday in McPherson County’s District Court concerned a material witness who was extradited to Missouri.
Travis Belt is facing charges of first-degree murder, along with burglary and two counts of theft stemming from the April 2017 death of Steve Carlson.
Friday’s hearing pertained to witness, Tamica Sanchez who, according to Belt’s attorney, Randall E. Fisher, was taken to Springfield, Missouri by authorities.
In a recent hearing, District Court Judge John Klenda reversed an earlier decision allowing statements made by Belt after Fisher filed a motion to reconsider portions of the statements.
During Friday’s hearing, Fisher said that according to a Kansas Bureau of Investigation report of an interview with two men by a KBI agent, Sanchez claimed that she held murder victim, Steve Carlson, down and sliced his throat.
At the time, Sanchez was at the McPherson County Law Enforcement Center, 1117 W. Woodside St., in McPherson awaiting extradition to Missouri.
Fisher claimed that after they filed a motion to keep Sanchez here, they were told that someone had already picked Sanchez up and taken her out of the state.
With Sanchez being such a significant witness, Fisher said he was looking to get her back for more questioning.
Fisher said that the State of Kansas told him that they would be able to get her back, but seemed vague on the procedures to do so.
Fisher asked the court for information about a statue that said the court could appoint an attorney for Sanchez and set a bond to guarantee her appearance.
Fisher also asked why Sanchez was back in Missouri, as she could be in the state for another court case or something simpler. Fisher said he was worried that if she was charged with a probation or parole violation, the State of Missouri could give her a release and she could disappear.
While Fisher also cited that in some circumstances the court could get a deposition from Sanchez, he questioned whether she would be she will be willing to participate or if she would just claim her Fifth Amendment rights.
Fisher requested an investigation into whether Sanchez could be bought back and if she could possibly be considered an unavailable witness, something Fisher said would greatly hurt his client’s case.
Amanda Voth, deputy county attorney for McPherson County, asked why Fisher did not file a subpoena for Sanchez to appear. Fisher responded by saying, “We do not know where Sanchez is in order to file any motions or subpoenas.”
Klenda said if Sanchez was in custody in another state, then arrangements should be made to bring her back to Kansas.
After both parties were done with statements, Klenda closed the hearing by saying, “We should ask the state to do a further investigation as to where and why Tamica Sanchez is in Missouri, and if she is in custody, then we need to know the reasons she is in custody and find out how she can become accessible or returned for this case. At that point, we will return here for another hearing.”
Fisher asked to be kept updated on any investigation.