Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson announces that Thursday a Douglas County jury convicted Baldwin City resident Cody Wayne Bruce, 26, of aggravated battery.
The case that was filed in District Court on August 25, 2015 stemmed from an incident that occurred on Saturday, May 9, 2015 at approximately 1:18 a.m. Officers with the Baldwin City Police Department were dispatched to a fight at an establishment in the 300 block of Ames Street in Baldwin City, Kansas. When the officer arrived, he found a man bleeding from his mouth. The victim stated that he and a friend were at the bar ordering drinks, when two men behind them commented on one of their boots and about them taking too long at the bar. During the conversation, Bruce all of a sudden, punched the victim in the mouth two times. The victim had to have two teeth and his gums repaired due to the punch to his face.
The trial began on Monday, August 29. Opening statements were delivered on Monday. Testimony continued through Wednesday and closing arguments were delivered Thursday morning. The jury deliberated for about three hours before returning its verdict.
The Court ordered a pre-sentence investigation be completed and set sentencing for October 3 at 2:00 p.m. The Court also set a probation violation hearing for the same time – Bruce was placed on probation in 2012 for punching a different victim in the head causing $93,000.00 in medical bills. Bruce’s conviction carries a prison sentence range of presumptive probation with an underlying sentence of 11 months up to 34 months in prison. His actual sentence will depend on his criminal history.
The Honorable Robert W. Fairchild presided over the trial. The case was investigated by the Baldwin City Police Department and it was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney CJ Rieg.
Lavern Reffitt, 23, most recently of Nebraska, was sentenced on Friday, August 26 after his July 7 no contest plea to attempted second-degree-murder and robbery. The Court sentenced Reffitt to 134 months in the Kansas Department of Corrections. The Court also ordered the sentence run consecutive to his Platte County, Missouri criminal case. Reffitt must also complete 36 months of post release supervision and upon his release from prison, he must register as a violent offender for 15 years. Restitution was ordered in the amount of $2,001.65.
The cases against Reffitt and two others were filed when Lawrence Police Department Detectives learned of their involvement in stabbing and robbing a man they met in the early morning hours of Sunday, January 25, 2015 at a Lawrence live music venue. The victim met the group outside the venue and he was getting a ride from Reffitt and his friends after the establishment closed, but the group ended up stabbing, beating and robbing the victim.
On February 26, 2016 case co-defendant Alicia Reynolds/15CR124 pleaded no contest to attempted robbery and aggravated battery. Case co-defendant Trea Ouellette/15CR122 is currently set for a preliminary hearing on October 14 at 3:00 p.m. Ouellette is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
The individual cases were heard in the Division One courtroom of the Honorable Robert W. Fairchild. The original case was investigated by the Lawrence Police Department and the individual cases have been prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney CJ Rieg.