Labette County will pay more than $900 for a jury trial that never happened because the accused neglected to show up.
John H. Fields Jr., born in 1970, 415 N. 25th, failed to appear Wednesday for the start of his jury trial in Labette County District Court. He was to be tried for aggravated escape from custody, a felony charge related to a July 19, 2015, incident when he ran from police who were putting him under arrest.
Fields’ attorney, Douglas Steele, and County Attorney Stephen Jones showed up, as did Judge Robert Fleming and the court reporter.
Thirty-nine jurors showed up for voir dire, when attorneys ask questions of jurors trying to find a panel to hear the case.
About an hour after the jurors showed up, Judge Fleming released them because Fields didn’t show up. The jurors were told that they wouldn’t be picked for a jury panel for at least a year.
Still, jurors get paid for their service and mileage to get them to court.
District Court Clerk Terri Thurman said the total bill for the jury service is $921.60. The cost has been submitted to the Labette County clerk for payment when county commissioners pay bills.
In other cases:
— Nicholas R. Hastings, born in 1991, 4245 Main, made a first appearance Wednesday via Skype on two new cases, each alleging possession of methamphetamine (one on Feb. 11 and the other Feb. 15) and other misdemeanor charges. He will return to court on Monday morning. Judge Jeffry Jack set his bond at $25,000 for the two new cases and an older case for which his diversion may be revoked. Hastings told Judge Jeffry Jack that he needed help.
— Scott G. Hall, 21, of Parsons, agreed Wednesday that he hadn’t complied with conditions of his probation in two 2013 cases (failure to report to scheduled appointments and committing new crimes). He agreed to serve a 120-day sanction with the Kansas Department of Corrections, after which he will be on probation through community corrections for two years. A third case pending against him will be dismissed as part of the agreement.
— Bruce A. Bingaman, 53, 1900 Belmont, Apt. 401, is charged with aggravated kidnapping, a level one felony, aggravated battery, a level seven felony, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, also a level seven, and misdemeanor criminal damage to property. Parsons police were called at 11:38 p .m. Feb. 2 to Belmont Towers, 1900 Belmont, to investigate a report of blood in hallways there. Blood was found in hallways on the fourth and fifth floors and on an elevator. Officers tracked the blood to a fourth-floor apartment and made inquiries. Bingaman had an injury to his abdominal area and was taken by ambulance to Labette Health. He was later arrested. He will return to court on Feb. 29.