Alleged robber to change plea

By The Mercury

A Manhattan man accused of driving the getaway car during an aggravated robbery notable for its connection to a deadly February arson is scheduled to change his not guilty plea in federal court Thursday afternoon.

Dennis Denzien, 20, is charged with brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence for, officials have said, driving the getaway car during an armed robbery at Dara’s Fast Lane, 1816 Claflin Road, on Feb. 6, in which approximately $200 was stolen from the store.

Denzien was arrested for the crime along with Frank Hanson, 22, the gunman who entered the store.

Hanson pleaded guilty to his part in the robbery in April.

Denzien is scheduled to appear in front of Judge Julie Robinson in Topeka at 1:15 p.m. Thursday for a change-of-plea hearing. In federal court, not guilty pleas are automatically entered during the suspect’s arraignment. 

Officials revealed in April that a fatal arson committed the night of Feb. 6 by Patrick Scahill, 20, a roommate of Hanson and Denzien, and Virginia Griese, 19, was set to divert police from investigating the robbery. K-State researcher Vasanta Pallem, 34, died as a result of the fire.

Scahill and Griese pleaded guilty to arson resulting in death in April.

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