Kansas high court overturns second conviction in bar killing

April 19, 2019 - 2:58 pm

The Kansas Supreme Court has again overturned the murder conviction of a Topeka man who was serving a life sentence in a 2008 bar shooting.

The justice ruled Friday that James Arthur Qualls III's claims that he killed 30-year-old Joseph Beier in self-defense weren't handled correctly at trial.

Justice Eric Rosen wrote in the unanimous decision that Qualls found himself in a "chaotic, threatening situation" when he fired a dozen rounds. The defense said Qualls had been hit twice and believed Beier was reaching for a weapon, although none was found on Beier.

Prosecutors said it wasn't self-defense because Quall fired multiple shots.

An earlier conviction was overturned because a different judge refused to allow jurors to consider voluntary manslaughter as a lesser charge.

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