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Prison time tossed by lack of speedy trial

7/19/2014

HUTCHINSON (MCT) — A judge Friday threw out the case of a man convicted and sentenced to nearly three years in prison for a 2009 shooting outside the Hutchinson Community College dorms on a "speedy trial" issue.

Richard Petty, 36, has remained free on a $75,000 appeal bond in the case since his conviction and sentencing in June 2010, though he spent more than a year in jail awaiting trial, court records show.

The Jan. 11, 2009, incident occurred in a parking lot in the 700 block of 15th Circle. According to trial testimony, Petty was standing with a group of people and exchanging text message with another man about some of his property being stolen.

When Rickie Caudillo of Hutchinson approached the group, Petty reportedly became angry with him and pulled a gun. As Caudillo fled, Petty allegedly fired two rounds, striking one of Caudillo's shoes with a ricochet.

Prosecutors originally charged Petty with five counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, based on the number of people in the group, but the court bound him over for trial on only two counts.

The law requires a case to go trial within 90 days of a preliminary hearing, unless continued by the defense. The trial was continued numerous times, by both sides.

One of those continuances was in January 2010, when the defense indicated it planned to call a witness at trial stating where Petty was residing at the time of the shooting. The state objected, arguing it needed time to interview the "alibi witnesses."

A transcript of the hearing, made for the appeal, showed Judge Richard Rome ordered the state be charged with the continuance.

Just prior to start of the April 5 trial, the defense made a motion the case be dismissed on speedy trial grounds. A visiting judge hearing the case, however, denied the motion and the case went to trial. Petty was convicted and sentenced to 39 months. He immediately appealed and the case has been pending.

District Judge Trish Rose on Friday agreed with findings that, because of that delay, days charged to the state exceeded 120 days and she ordered the case dismissed.

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(c)2014 The Hutchinson News (Hutchinson, Kan.)