An 18-year-old youth charged in the shooting death in June of another 18-year-old in the Old Town neighborhood in west-central Topeka sought a new court-appointed defense attorney on Thursday and was granted one.
The defendant, Luqman Yusuf Keys, is charged with felony first-degree murder of Topekan Arden King on June 25, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary and criminal possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, according to Shawnee County District Court records.
On Dec. 19, Keys filed a handwritten motion asking the court to remove Joe Huerter as his attorney. Keys based the motion on allegations of breakdown of communications between Keys and Huerter, the motion said.
Keys also alleged Huerter failed to follow up leads “that are intrinsic to defendant’s intended defense theory,” Keys wrote.
District Court Judge Mark Braun instructed assistant district attorney Brett Watson, a Topeka Capital-Journal reporter and two supporters of Keys to leave the courtroom while he talked to Keys and Huerter about the motion.
About 20 minutes later, the public was allowed to return to the court, and Braun granted the motion.
The Keys defense will be assigned to another attorney, and during a scheduling hearing Jan. 11, the attorneys and Braun will discuss whether Keys’ trial, now scheduled to start April 16, will have to be scheduled for later this year.
Police arrested Keys on June 25 in the 1200 block of S.W. Lincoln in connection with King’s death.
Homicide database for Topeka, Shawnee County
Keys, whose address was listed on jail records as 509 S.W. Polk, was booked at 11:45 p.m. on June 25 into the Shawnee County Jail. Keys remains in jail in lieu of a $500,000 bond of cash or professional surety.
In June, Topeka police said at least two people were inside an apartment at the Taylor Street address when one person was shot about 2:20 p.m.
A woman at the scene told a Topeka Capital-Journal reporter that her son had been shot. She said she didn’t know what led to the shooting, only that her son had been visiting a friend.