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Lyons trial ends in hung jury

Authorities are seeking a retrial after a jury on Tuesday afternoon could not reach a unanimous verdict during the trial of a Manhattan man accused of killing an infant.

D’Khari Lyons was charged with first-degree murder and abuse of a child in connection with the death of 2 1/2-month old Michael Calvert Jr. in November.

When jurors cannot agree on a verdict of guilty or not guilty, the result is a hung jury, which leads to a mistrial.

Barry Disney, senior deputy county attorney and lead prosecutor, said the government will pursue a retrial.

“It’s not uncommon to have tons of cases that get hung, and we have to retry,” Disney said. “We are proceeding on a retrial … (and) we are locked on the charges.”

Disney thanked the jury for its time in a challenging and difficult case. The trial lasted for five days, including jury selection. Jurors deliberated for about six hours.

Lyons was watching Michael for a short period the morning of Nov. 8 while his then-girlfriend took her other children to school. When she returned, the two of them reported to authorities that Michael was having trouble breathing and had bruises on him. Emergency responders took the baby to Ascension Via Christi Hospital and then to Children’s Mercy Hospital, where he died three days later.

Officials ruled that Michael died from blunt force or abusive head trauma after sustaining severe internal injuries.

Prosecutors alleged that Lyons lashed out at the child in momentary frustration to stop him from crying. At trial, Lyons said he would never hurt a child, and he didn’t know what caused Michael’s injuries.

Judge Meryl Wilson set a status conference for 2 p.m. Oct. 7 to set a date for the retrial.

Bluemont Avenue lane closing until October 2020

A lane on Bluemont Avenue is closing Monday until October 2020 to accommodate hotel construction at Bluemont and 12th Street.

The city announced Tuesday it will reduce eastbound traffic on Bluemont to one lane between 12th Street and Triangle Park to “maintain safety” during the construction of the Courtyard by Marriott.

Northbound traffic will be closed on 12th Street between Bluemont and Moro Street, according to city officials.

This portion of 12th Street will only be one-way during the construction project.

Drivers cannot park their cars on 12th Street, city officials said.

Additionally, drivers will not be able to turn left from Moro Street to 12th Street. People can access businesses through the nearby alley, according to city officials.

Gas leaks disrupt businesses, traffic near Seth Child Road two days in a row

Two incidents of workers breaking gas lines along Frontage Road near Home Depot and the police department caused gas leaks and disruptions to traffic and business operations Tuesday and Wednesday.

Emergency crews and Kansas Gas Service first responded to the scene around noon Tuesday after a contractor for a telecommunications company bore into a gas line while working on construction in the area.

Kansas Gas detected gas in the sewer pipes, which led to officials evacuating occupants and workers of Home Depot. Officials checked other nearby storm drains and did not find any other leaks.

Officials asked drivers to avoid the area for almost four hours, which blocked access to and from the Riley County Police Department.

RCPD spokeswoman Hali Rowland said police did not see any major impacts to their operations Tuesday or Wednesday. She said personnel were not at risk from the leak and remained to operate essential functions and other office duties, including the emergency dispatch center.

“Luckily our officers have mobile workstations in their vehicles so it was business as usual for our patrol division,” Rowland said. “We were still able to respond to all calls because we had officers on the roadway.”

The road reopened around 3:40 p.m.

Around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, RCPD said that someone struck the line again, blocking traffic on Frontage Road and the 900 to 1100 block of Seth Child Road until about 10:30 a.m.

Officials asked nearby businesses, including Home Depot, PetSmart, Little Apple Veterinary Clinic and Target, to evacuate as a strong odor could be smelled. Occupants were able to reenter once officials gave the all clear.