UPDATE: Sony Uk found guilty of first-degree murder Featured

By Brandon Peoples and Chuck Samples April 19, 2018 2355
Sony Uk (right) appears at his murder trial proceedings alongside his attorney, James Chappas, on Wednesday. Sony Uk (right) appears at his murder trial proceedings alongside his attorney, James Chappas, on Wednesday. Brandon Peoples/KVOE News.

A jury has rendered its verdict in the Sony Uk murder trial.

After about an hour of deliberations Thursday afternoon, the jury unanimously found Uk guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Mahogany Brooks in March 2017.

Closing arguments were presented by Lyon County Attorney Marc Goodman who urged jurors to charge Uk with first-degree murder, noting that Uk knowingly and with premeditation fired four rounds at Brooks in March 2017.

Uk's defense attorney James Chappas argued for the lesser charge of second-degree murder, noting a two-and-a-half hour window from when Uk arrived at Brooks' apartment to when the homicide occurred.

Judge Merlin Wheeler has set a sentencing date of July 2 at 9:15 a.m. 

4 p.m. Wednesday

The state and defense have both rested in the Sony Uk murder trial.

Uk, the Emporia man accused of first-degree murder in the death of Mahogany Brooks in March 2017, also waived his right to testify before the jury with the defense also resting without providing any further evidence.

Jurors on Wednesday heard more evidence from the state including a report from Kansas City pathologist Dr. Erik Mitchell who performed the autopsy on Brooks. He noted Brooks death was caused by multiple gunshot wounds, the result of a homicide. He testified that Brooks' injuries didn't cause instant death but stated that they were injuries which would not be survivable.

The jury also heard testimony from KBI biologist Jenna Sparling who conducted DNA analysis on the evidence showing the DNA belonged to that of Brooks and Uk.

As the state rested, Uk's attorney James Chappas stated he believed the evidence supplied by the state could suggest lesser charges that may be justified from Uk's current charge of first-degree murder. Chappas said he had no evidence to provide. He mentioned he had numerous conferences with Mr. Uk about testifying and it was Uk's own decision to waive the right to testify.

Judge Merlin Wheeler informed the court that the trial is well ahead of any pace he had anticipated and said he expected a decision could ultimately be made by the end of the week.

The jury will reconvene in Lyon County District Court at 1:15 p.m. Thursday. Both sides will make closing arguments and the jury could potentially begin deliberations by Thursday afternoon.

4 p.m. Tuesday

Testimony continued Tuesday in the Sony Uk murder trial.

The morning testimony included statements from Emporia Police investigator Kevin Shireman, who said under direct examination that he noted several pieces of evidence at the apartment where 38-year-old Mahogany Brooks was shot dead on March 9, 2017. Shireman told the court he saw an apparent shotgun blast through a sheetrock wall. He also saw birdshot on and near Brooks, and he says the wounds Brooks suffered were larger than those typically inflicted by rifles.

Shireman remained on direct examination until late Tuesday afternoon. Photographs both inside and outside of Brooks' apartment included several shotgun shells, a 12 gauge shotgun reportedly found inside the apartment. Shireman noted the gun was loaded and had a spent shotgun shell inside upon the initial investigation.

The state also began introducing physical evidence late Tuesday afternoon with more testimony expected to begin as the trial resumes on Wednesday.

Uk is accused of shooting Brooks several times with a shotgun and faces a first-degree murder count in the case. The two were dating at the time.

Testimony could continue all week.

6 pm Monday: Murder trial officially begins for Sony Uk

Proceedings are underway in Emporia's latest murder trial.

Jury selection wrapped up around noon in State v. Sony Uk. The six-man, eight-woman jury was then seated and sworn in following the lunch break. Testimony is now underway as well, with evidence including the 911 tape of the call.

Testimony included local business owners claiming they saw the alleged suspect carrying a shotgun as he rode a bicycle through downtown Emporia. Video surveillance of the man also was shown to jurors. Jurors also heard from witnesses who were in the building the night of the murder with at least of those witnesses claiming he saw Uk fire a round of shots at Brooks' lifeless body.

Opening arguments came from the prosecution, but not from defense attorney James Chappas. He says he will reserve his opening statement until later in the case.

Uk stands accused of killing his girlfriend, Mahogany Brooks, by shooting her with a shotgun at close range several times at her apartment in March 2017. Uk is charged with one count of first-degree murder in the case.

The trial resumes Tuesday and could potentially last until early next week.

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Last modified on Thursday, 19 April 2018 21:47

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