The savage stomping death of a senior citizen at the Wyandotte County, Kansas courthouse Oct. 5 occurred inside the busy main security checkpoint itself.
The criminal affidavit describing the trampling of 71-year-old Lonnie E. Davis of Kansas City, Kansas, was unsealed this week by a judge at the request of The Heartlander. Davis died of his injuries Oct. 14, according to an obituary.
The affidavit says courthouse video shows Davis was hit in the face, then stomped in the head while on the ground by Pierre Hamilton, 37, who was later arrested outside the building.
“Mr. Hamilton stated that there was a disagreement between him and his step grandfather Mr. Davis over a court appearance regarding a debt,” the affidavit says.
Hamilton is indeed listed as a defendant in a $400 small claims case in which stomping victim Davis was the plaintiff, a courthouse source has confirmed to The Heartlander.
“The reported injuries were bleeding on the brain, a laceration on the back of the head, and a laceration in his ear,” according to an investigator, who reported being unable to interview Davis in the hospital due to the extent of his injuries.
Hamilton was initially charged with aggravated battery causing great bodily harm or disfigurement. On Friday it was unclear whether District Attorney Mark Dupree had upgraded the charge to murder or manslaughter.
When a request is made to unseal a criminal affidavit, the prosecution and defense both have opportunities to object or offer redactions. Interestingly, when The Heartlander requested the affidavit in this case, the defense had no objection – but Dupree’s office filed a motion to keep the details of the case hidden from the public.
A judge this week denied Dupree’s motion and released the affidavit, with minimal redactions including personal information about the victim.
Why would the prosecutor want the public not to know what happened in the courthouse Oct. 5? The Heartlander asked several courthouse sources, but no legal explanation was offered.
One courthouse source told The Heartlander that the apparent fact that Hamilton was able to slide past security officers to exit the building after the stomping may have been a matter of embarrassment for courthouse security, which is supplied by the sheriff’s office.
The Heartlander asked Sheriff Daniel Soptic Oct. 27 how such a brutal assault and killing could’ve happened just feet away from multiple armed security officers. The Heartlander asked why officers weren’t able to prevent or stop the attack, and if any changes have been made to security as a result of this incident.
Soptic’s public information officer replied with the following statement:
“On October 5, 2022 at approximately 2:35 p.m., two individuals appeared to accompany each other within the courthouse. As they exited the building, an altercation ensued between the parties. Sheriff’s personnel interceded and the suspect attempted to flee. Responding deputies took the suspect into custody outside the courthouse. The investigation is ongoing and has been referred to the District Attorney’s Office. Further questions regarding the case should be directed to that office.”
The Heartlander has asked Dupree’s office to explain why it wanted the facts of this case to remain sealed from public view.