First Trial Nearing in Teen Shooting Case
Todd Pittenger - March 17, 2016 10:58 am
A Shawnee County judge declared a mistrial on a murder charge against a Topeka man involved in fatal road-rage confrontation.
One of five men accused in a case involving the shooting death of a Salina teen last spring was back in court Thursday morning as his trial date approaches.
19-year-old Stephen Gentry is scheduled to be the first person to face trial in connection with the shooting death of 17-year-old Allie Saum. He is scheduled to stand trial beginning April 11th.
Judge Renee Young heard several pretrial motions Thursday morning. Among other things, the judge ruled:
- The trial will not be moved to another location. Judge Young denied a change of venue motion, saying that though there has been a lot of publicity about the case it has “been fact based and not inflammatory”.
- Gentry will not be granted a different attorney. He indicated that he does not “see eye to eye” with his attorney Julie Effenbech on some issues, and has some difficulty in getting transcripts of interviews with the other co-defendants in the case. Judge Young denied his request for a different court appointed attorney.
- The prosecution will be allowed to refer to Allie Saum as a “victim” in the case. The defense had requested that the term “victim” not be used during the trial. Judge Young denied the request.
Gentry, who is being held in jail in the Ottawa County, expressed frustration about not being able to get information regarding the case in a timely manner. Saline County Sheriff Glen Kochanowski was in the court. He indicated to Judge Young that he would try to make arrangements to have Gentry housed in Salina.
Allie Saum was shot and killed on May 6th, 2015, in what prosecutors allege was a case of mistaken identity. During a preliminary hearing they presented evidence showing that the shooting was prompted by a fight earlier in the evening. A group of people went out to seek revenge. One of them mistakenly identified a pickup that was driving by as being involved in the fight. Shots were fired at the truck as it drove eastbound in the 500 block of Russell. Saum was a passenger in the truck, and was hit in the head.
The defendants in the case include:
- 22-year-old Macio Palacio
- 19-year-old Jerome Forbes
- 20-year-old Daniel Sims
- 18-year-old Stephen Gentry
- 18-year-old Andrew Woodring
All five will face the same charges at trial, which include:
- 1st degree murder
- attempted 1st degree murder
- shooting at an occupied vehicle
- conspiracy to commit aggravated battery
Additionally, Woodring faces an obstruction charge.
Each trial will be held separately.
A sixth defendant is also accused in the case, 21-year-old Azucena Garcia-Ferniza. She is facing an obstruction charge, accused of trying to hide the gun that was used in the shooting.
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