Defendant in Hobson killing denied home detention

Friday, July 22, 2011 | 9:01 p.m. CDT; updated 8:20 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 28, 2011

COLUMBIA — One of the eight defendants charged in connection with the fatal shooting of a Kansas youth last fall was denied home detention Thursday. 

Boone County Circuit Court Judge Gary Oxenhandler apparently sided with the prosecution’s contention that the charges against Lee Carter were too severe to justify letting him live at home until his trial.

In a hearing Wednesday, Carter’s attorney, Kathryn Benson, pointed out Carter’s fiancé in the courtroom, who recently gave birth to twins, Carter’s children.

Carter’s bond was changed from $1 million cash only to $1 million. He has been held in Boone County Jail since his arrest on Nov. 9 in connection with the slaying of Aaron Hobson, cousin of MU cornerback Trey Hobson.

Hobson was visiting Columbia to watch his cousin play in the homecoming football game on Oct. 23. He and friends planned to meet at the crowded Break Time convenience store on Nifong Boulevard before heading to a party.

According to Columbia police, a group of men approached Hobson’s car and robbed him. Video surveillance shows that Hobson was shot several times in the chest after the scuffle around 1:15 a.m.

Police were originally called to a trespassing report at the gas station and arrived in time to see people running from the scene after five to six shots were fired.

Over the next few months, police arrested eight people believed to have been involved in the incident based on evidence gathered through video surveillance, witness reports and implications from others arrested in connection with the killing.

The first defendant scheduled to go on trial is Leo Roland, 20, on Sept. 7.

The following is an update on the cases of the co-defendants.

The charges:

According to an indictment filed June 24 by Boone County Chief Prosecutor Dan Knight, seven of the eight defendants — who are believed to have acted together — are charged with the same counts:

  • Count 1: Second-degree murder
  • Count 2: First-degree robbery
  • Count 3: Felonious restraint

In Missouri, a person can be found guilty of second-degree murder if someone died as the result of a committed or attempted felony. This is referred to as “felony murder.”

In order to convict the defendants of second-degree murder, the jury must also find the defendant guilty of a felony that could have led to Hobson's death. The prosecution has supplied three alternative justifications of such felonies:

  • First alternative theory: First-degree robbery.
  • Second alternative theory: Second-degree robbery.
  • Third alternative theory: Felonious restraint.

Felonious restraint is committed when a person is held against his or her will. It commonly applies to kidnapping or rape cases, said defendant Darris Peal’s attorney, Kevin O’Brien.

Kathryn Benson, attorney for Lee Carter, said the prosecution will choose which of the three alternative scenarios to present to the jury during the trial to prove second-degree murder.

Deshon Houston is the only co-defendant who is not being charged with these counts. Knight said he would not comment on Houston’s case.

Tony L. Lewis, 27:

Lewis, of Boonville, was one of the first arrested in connection with the case on Oct. 24 last year.

Lewis was granted a change of venue originally planned for Lafayette County on June 13. At a hearing on July 18, Boone County Circuit Court Judge Gary Oxenhandler told Lewis and his attorney that Lafayette County was too “overwhelmed” to supply jurors for his trial.

Jennifer Bukowsky, Lewis’ attorney, said this is the first time she has seen Lafayette County deny such a request in the last few years.

Bukowsky said she and the prosecution conferenced after the hearing and agreed on Platte County as an alternative first choice and Buchanan County as a second choice.

Oxenhandler will contact the presiding judges in each county to determine if either county can accommodate the venue change.

Bukowsky requested the venue change because of media coverage of the case in Boone County.

Leo D. Roland, 20:

Roland, of Columbia, turned himself in on Oct. 24 last year. Roland implicated Daron Peal as the person holding the gun used to shoot Hobson.

Roland motioned for a change of venue July 18, and the hearing for that motion will be held July 25.

Roland is represented by Michael Byrne. The following is a list of Roland's upcoming court dates:

  • Hearing: July 25
  • Hearing: Aug. 22
  •  Jury trial: Sept. 7

Deshon Joseph A. Houston, 21:

Houston, of Columbia, was also arrested Oct. 24 last year. According to police, surveillance video shows the defendants gathering at Houston’s car before moving toward Hobson’s car.

Houston is the only co-defendant not convicted based on the indictment. He is also one of the only co-defendants on the witness list, along with Patrick Marshall.

Public defender Jenean Thompson is representing him.

Houston was not present at his last hearing on July 18, which was a status review.

Daron M. Peal, 23:

Daron Peal of Moberly has been implicated by other suspects and identified by police on the surveillance video as the man who held the gun.

Daron Peal and his brother, Darris Peal, were arrested Oct. 27 in Jennings.

Police said Daron Peal had an outstanding warrant for probation and parole violations at the time of his arrest.

Gerald Mueller is his attorney.

Daron Peal was granted a venue change request to select jurors from Cooper County on July 7. The following is a list of his upcoming court dates:

  • Hearing: Aug. 15
  • Jury trial: Oct. 31

Darris A. Peal, 21:

Darris Peal was arrested with his brother on Oct. 27 in Jennings.

He was granted a change of venue Feb. 7, and jurors will be selected from Clay County for his trial.

Kevin O’Brien, Darris Peal’s attorney, filed for a bill of particulars — or a request for more information from the prosecution — on July 5, but was denied July 18. The following is Darris Peal's upcoming court date:

  • Jury trial: Sept. 27

Anthony J. Carr, 24:

Carr was the sixth man arrested in connection with the case. He turned himself in on Oct. 29 last year in St. Charles after a warrant was issued for his arrest on Oct. 26.

Carr’s attorney is Richard French, a public defender based in Jefferson City.

The following is a list of Carr's upcoming court dates:

  • Hearing: Sept. 26
  • Jury trial: Oct. 5

Lee W. Carter, 24:

Carter was arrested on Nov. 9 last year. He was recently denied home detention, and his bond was changed from $1 million cash only to $1 million.

Carter previously implicated himself as having accosted Hobson with a bottle during the incident, but at his hearing on July 20, his attorney, Kathryn Benson, said the bottle never actually touched Hobson.

Patrick R. Marshall, 18:

Patrick Marshall, of St. Louis, was the last person arrested in connection with the case on Feb. 16. A warrant had been out for his arrest since December.

Patrick Marshall is one of the only co-defendants listed as a witness, along with Deshon Houston.

According to police, Marshall turned himself in with his attorney, Douglas Forsyth.

Forsyth filed a motion of continuance on July 18, but for the time being, his upcoming dates are:

  • Next hearing: Aug. 22
  • Jury trial: Sept. 14

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