Douglas County District Attorney Suzanne Valdez today announced that a jury returned a guilty verdict of voluntary manslaughter against Steven Austin Drake, 25, of Lawrence.
The charge stemmed from an incident in which Bryce Holladay of Lawrence entered a home on W. 27th Terrace on Sept. 19, 2017, and refused to leave for several hours. After a skirmish at the front door to the home, Drake shot Holladay in the face. He was declared dead at the scene.
Drake had sent multiple texts messages saying that he was going to shoot Holladay before he retrieved a gun from a bedroom and fired one shot at close range.
“Senseless gun violence has no place in our community,” Valdez said. “The Holladay family lost a beloved son, and we hope this verdict can give them some closure. But many people have been changed forever because of Mr. Drake’s actions – including the witnesses and their families and Mr. Drake himself. This office will not tolerate violent gun crime.”
The state was represented by Valdez and Deputy District Attorney Joshua Seiden. The case was investigated by the Lawrence Police Department, Lawrence-Douglas County Fire and Medical and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.
Sentencing was set by District Judge B. Kaye Huff for 4 p.m. March 30 at the Douglas County Judicial and Law Enforcement Center. Bond was revoked, and he will undergo a Presentence Investigation. Drake faces a sentence of 55-247 months in the Kansas Department of Corrections.