Horne jury can’t reach a verdict

By Bethany Knipp

A mistrial was declared Friday in the trial of a Manhattan man accused of armed robbery. Jurors deliberated for more than seven hours before Judge John Bosch declared the mistrial around 10 p.m. in the case of Levertis Horne, 22, who is facing two counts of aggravated robbery, two counts of attempted robbery, one count of aggravated battery and one count of aggravated burglary.

Horne is accused by the state of robbing four roommates at gunpoint in an incident that occurred Oct. 5, 2012 at Chase Manhattan Apartments, 1400 Chase Place. One of the roommates was shot.

A status hearing is scheduled for Aug. 21 to schedule a new trial for Horne. The trial is the second in recent months here to end with a deadlocked jury. In May jurors failed to reach a verdict in the rape trial of William Yankey, a KSU professor of architecture accused in a 2007 incident involving a friend. Yankey subsequently filed what is known as an Alford Plea – essentially accepting a guilty finding while asserting his innocence – and was convicted of reduced charges. He was sentenced to serve 36 months of unsupervised probation and prohibited from being in Aggieville, among other terms.

The crime for which Horne stood trial this past week revolved around a marijuana drug deal.

The four roommates — Austin Miller, 20, Chase Cargile, 21, Tyler Sweet and Andrew Johnson — testified that a man wearing a hood and a cover over his face barged in through their apartment door, pointing a gun and demanding marijuana, which Miller, Cargile and Johnson were dealing. After a fight, Cargile was shot twice and stabbed in the neck, but survived his injuries.

Johnson testified in the Riley Country District Court that he saw the intruder was a black male who had a gun and said, “Get down on the ground,” three times, the third time ending with a threat to shoot. Testifying in his own behalf, Horne admitted going to the apartment looking for weed to buy. But he denied having a gun, said he did not know how Cargile was shot, and said he left without $1,200. He said that when he reached in his pocket for the money, one of the roommates hit him, leading to the fight that resulted in Cargile’s injuries.

Police questioned Horne after finding his phone in the apartment.

Johnson testified that he and Miller had just gotten back from Colorado the night of the incident, transporting weed from the state where marijuana is legal, with the intent to sell it in Kansas. Cargile, Johnson and Miller were arrested for possession and distribution of the drug after police found out marijuana was in Johnson’s car, which Johnson said he hid after the incident.

Johnson said initially he told police that the intruder demanded money in order to hide the drug crimes.

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