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Capital Murder Charge Filed Over Topeka Officer's Killing

Stephen Koranda

Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor says he is filing a capital murder charge and will seek the death penalty for a man accused of killing a Topeka Police officer. Taylor says Ross Preston Lane is charged with shooting Topeka Police Corporal Jason Harwood during a traffic stop Sunday. Taylor says under state law, the premeditated killing of a police officer is one of the scenarios justifying a capital murder charge.

“We fact-checked every component of this to make sure that it does fit those parameters, it clearly does. As the district attorney, I deem that filing a capital case in this situation is absolutely appropriate,” says Taylor.

Taylor thanked what he called the "good Samaritans" who came to Corporal Harwood's aid following the shooting. Another man, Randy Allen Ridens Jr., was also charged in connection with the killing. He allegedly helped Lane escape following the shooting.

Stephen Koranda is Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio and the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, KMUW, Kansas Public Radio and High Plains Radio covering health, education and politics.