OTTAWA, Kan. (AP) — A man will stand trial in the shooting deaths of four people, including an 18-month-old girl who prosecutors say was gunned down in the same bedroom as her mother before her body was tucked inside a suitcase and tossed into a creek, a judge ruled Wednesday.
At the conclusion of a two-day preliminary hearing, Franklin County Judge Thomas Sachse (sok-see) ordered Kyle Flack to stand trial on charges of capital murder, first-degree murder and criminal possession of a firearm. The judge said he dismissed a charge of attempted rape because prosecutors had not met their burden to prove probable cause.
The bodies of Andrew Stout, Steven White and Kaylie Bailey were discovered in early May at Stout's Ottawa farm. The body of Bailey's daughter, Lana-Leigh, was found several days later in a suitcase in a creek in Osage County. Testimony during the hearing showed all four died of gunshot wounds.
Sachse set Flack's arraignment for April 22.
Neither Vic Braden, deputy attorney general in the Kansas attorney general's office and part of the team of prosecutors working on the case, nor Franklin County Attorney Stephen Hunting would comment on whether they would seek the death penalty.
Flack's attorney, Ron Evans, chief of the Kansas Death Penalty unit, declined to comment. Flack, who sat in the courtroom in shackles and an orange prison jumpsuit throughout the hearing, did not show emotion when the judge ordered the trial.
The preliminary hearing focused largely on testimony from expert witnesses about where and when the bodies were found, the causes of death, DNA evidence and the discovery of the alleged murder weapon, a shotgun found partially dismantled at an Emporia trash site.
There was no discussion of motive, apart from a detective testifying Tuesday that Flack told him during a long interrogation before he was formally charged that Stout took the initial shot at White in the garage after an argument over rent. Flack said Stout then handed the gun to Flack, who also shot White, the detective said.
Dr. Erik Mitchell, a forensic pathologist who performed autopsies on the four victims, testified Wednesday that White was shot in the chest and the head, that Stout was shot several times, including in the head, that Kaylie Bailey was shot in the head and her daughter was shot in the chest.
Unlike the other victims, Kailey Bailey had zip ties around her wrists and a red bandanna in her mouth when she was shot, Hunting said.
"She had that bandanna in her mouth. She was bound. She was gagged. She was executed there," he said. Hunting said Bailey's daughter was shot on the bed in the same bedroom and was briefly aware "something awful happened to her" before she died.
Mitchell said he was called to the scene where search crews found the child's body in a suitcase on May 11 in a creek in neighboring Osage County. Hunting said the child's body had been wrapped in a blanket and placed in the suitcase "in almost a fetal position."
According to the charges, the Baileys were killed on or about May 1, Stout died on or about April 29 and White died between April 20 and April 29.
Flack's mother, Tammy McCoy, who also attended the hearing, said the judge's ruling Wednesday was likely not a surprise for her son.
"Kyle expected to go to trial," she said.