Supreme Court upholds convictions for Topeka triple murders
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court upheld on Friday the convictions of a woman who participated in the deaths of three people who were strangled or smothered with trash bags in her Topeka home.
In a unanimous opinion, the high court also affirmed Kora Liles’ sentences for all 11 charges on which she was convicted, including three counts of felony murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and aggravated kidnapping.
Liles was one of five people charged in the March 2017 deaths of 19-year-old Matthew Leavitt, 38-year-old Nicole Fisher and 20-year-old Luke Davis in a Topeka basement. Police said the violence stemmed from an unproven rape allegation against Leavitt.
Liles argued on appeal that the arguments by prosecutors and instructions to jurors from the court amounted to improper commentary on her credibility. She also accused prosecutors of breaching an unwritten agreement for a favorable sentencing recommendation in exchange for her testimony against others.
The court held that neither the the prosecutor’s comments nor the jury instructions were improper. It also ruled the claimed sentencing agreement breach was not reviewable because she failed to make an adequate record of it in the trial court to allow meaningful review on appeal.