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( archives / 1993 )

Hemp of Northeast Kansas

3/15/93 / PRESS RELEASE / Mark Creamer

Kansas NORML and KU NORNL are proud to celebrate their one year anniversary of consecutive Tuesday protests in front of Lawrence city hall. Tuesday, March 16, 1993 will see a special celebration from 6:00 to 7:00 PM.

"Although the city commissioners have displayed 'political lockjaw' when it comes to discussing even medical marijuana, we are hopeful that President Clinton's choice for US surgeon general, Dr. Joycelyn Elders, will end the gridlock and allow public discussion to begin."

5/18/93 / Wichita Eagle / Gail Randall

Faulty search warrant kills marijuana case

Wichita police narcotics officers watched their case against Debora Moore -- known as the hemp lady -- go up in smoke Monday. A district Judge ruled that police misled a judge into signing a search warrant for Moore's residence. "This is a warrant that, at the very least, does not show probable cause, and at the very most, is a general warrant," said chief criminal Judge Paul Clark. As a result, Clark said, none of the fruits of the police raid In November -- includIng 14 pounds of marijuana -- can be used against Moore in court.

"She's free,' said Moore's lawyer, Charles O'Hara, as Moore hugged supporters. "I'm a happy girl," said Moore, a 45 year old seamstress who had been set to go on trial this week on felony marijuana possession charges.

"The judge can say what a judge wants to say," said police Capt. Ron West, who supervises the narcotics and vice squads. "I don't know if there was a screw-up. I'll have to talk to the district attorney's office." The DA's office has not yet decided whether it will appeal the ruling. Presumably, Clark's decision also ruled out any prosecution of Moore's 16 -year-old daughter, who was charged with marijuana possession in juvenile court. Assistant District Attorney Mona Furst -- citing the privacy of juvenile proceedings -- declined to discuss it.

Had more gone to trial, she planned to put on an unusual defense: that because she purchased marijuana tax stamps required by law, she was excepted from laws prohibiting its sale. Now, O'Hara is advising more to steer clear of controversial activities. "My advice to her is to take her political point of view and put it out to the people and be heard and not get involved in any more allegedly illegal activity," O'Hara said

After listening to several hours of testimony about the raid during a pretrial hearing, Clark found that:

- Despite police surveillance of Moore's East 2nd St. duplex, police listed the wrong address on the search Warren.

- When they realize their mistake they did not tell judge David Dewey, who had authorized a search. Nor did they try to correct the warrant. Instead, they search the whole building.

- Although the officers told Dewey that they had previously bought marijuana inside Moore's building, they didn't say that it happened in a stairway shared by four apartments -- not in Moore's home, as their sworn affidavit implied.

- Clark also said police were wrong when they seized dozens of books, stickers, smocks, banners and patches from Moore's hemp products shop. Officers contended that the products qualified as drug paraphernalia. But Clark disagreed. Whether a sticker says "American Voter" or "Legalize Marijuana," he said, it is constitutionally he protected opinion, not drug paraphernalia: "It has nothing to do with the case".

O'Hara had asked Clark to suppress all the evidence seized during a 5.5 hour raid on Moore's home and shop that "left the place in a shambles." O'Hara argued that police intentionally withheld information which could have cause the judge to frown on the search if he had known.

8/6/93 / The Topeka Capital-Journal / Tim Hrenchir and Lisa Sodders

Rampage: 2 dead

Explosives fell gunman, injure 3;
shots kill guard, wound 2 others;
car bombs hit Topeka, Oskaloosa

A man about to be sentenced on federal drug charges arrived Thursday at the Frank Carlson Federal Building, detonated a car bomb outside and went to the fourth floor were a shot and killed a court security officer and wounded a man and a woman. The heavily armed man died when an explosive device strapped to his body went off. Two women in the office of the U.S. District Court clerk's office were hurt in the explosion that killed Jack Gary McKnight, 37, Meriden. The woman's injuries weren't considered life-threatening. Another woman was hurt when she fell through a ceiling while trying to escape. Several federal building employees stayed hidden or locked away in offices for most of the day until officers informed them McKnight was dead. His body was discovered about six and half hours after he died. Members of Topeka's police SWAT team conducted a tense room-to-room search involving some sixty law officers. The search lasted from about 10 a.m. after McKnight sprayed gunfire through the top floor of the federal building until his body was found at about 4:30 p.m.

Law enforcement officers couldn't immediately move McKnight's body because they feared explosives still on or near his body might go off. The body wasn't expected to be removed until early today. Thursday night, explosives were still being discovered and detonated in the federal building and in the nearby parking lot. The building was to be searched again today for explosives.

The first to die as McKnight reached the fourth floor -- where work courtrooms, judges, court employees and the U.S. marshals office are located -- was Gene L. Goldsberry, 61, a retired Kansas Highway Patrol trooper working for the U.S. marshals service. Goldsberry was stationed at a security checkpoint just outside the elevator on the fourth floor. Almost immediately afterward, Terry Morrow, whose age was given as in his thirties, Junction City, was hit by gunfire. The wounded Morrow fell over Goldsberry's body and pretended to be dead. He was taken out of the building about two ours after he was shot. Dana Fanole was shot during the hectic moments that followed. Morrow was in fair condition Thursday night at Stormont-Vail Regional Medical Center. Fanole was admitted to St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center, which didn't release information about her. Several others were injured. Some were hurt as they tried to escape. Others were hit by shrapnel or stray bullets. Of the injured, three others were hospitalized. Diana Ortiz was in satisfactory condition Thursday night at St. Francis. Carol Scheetz and Sherol Masters were taken to Stormont-Vail. Thursday night Scheetz was in satisfactory condition. Masters was treated and released.

By afternoon, authorities were trying to reconstruct the day's events. Here is the likely sequence of events: McKnight's rampage apparently started early in the day at his home near Meriden in Jefferson County, northeast of Topeka. It is believed McKnight turned his truck and his wife's car into rolling bombs. He loaded the car onto a dolly that he hitched to his truck. He then drove to nearby Oskaloosa, the Jefferson County seat, parked the truck near the sheriff's office and set off an explosion. McKnight got into his wife's car, already armed with explosives, and drove to Topeka. He went to a sporting goods store and purchased firearms of ammunition, and then he drove to the federal building had 444 S.E. Quincy. Kyle smith, assistant Attorney General with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, said McKnight was scheduled to be sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Court Judge Sam A. Crow on federal charges of conspiracy to possess more than 100 marijuana plants and use of a firearm in the commission of a federal felony. The firearms charge was related to the marijuana charge. The mandatory sentence for the marajuana charge is 5 to 40 years in prison. The sentence for the firearms charge, also mandatory, is 5 to 10 years. With both charges, McKnight faced at least a 10 years stay in federal prison, Smith said.

The charges stemmed from an August 1992 investigation by the KBI and the Kansas Highway Patrol. McKnight and his wife, Cynthia Marie McKnight, 36, were indicted on drug and firearms charges last December. His wife also was to be sentenced Thursday. Cynthia McKnight was questioned by officials and brought to the scene while the building was being searched. She was later released.

About 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Jack McKnight arrived at the federal building. He parked his wife's car on the upper level of the parking garage near the federal building. He entered the building with numerous explosives strapped to his body. He was carying four pistols. Officials couldn't explain how McKnight managed to enter the building without drawing attention to the federal marshals who provide security there. Topeka police responded to call about shots being fired at the courthouse. Sergeant Bob Dugan, Officer John Goldsmith and Shawnee County Undersheriff Bill Dickerson were fired at outside the building. They took cover.

Shortly afterward, explosives in the 1979 Subaru coupe McKnight had left went off. The courthouse garage has two underground levels and four above ground. At least three other explosions followed, all thought to have started in the car. Authorities said McKnight went to the fourth floor, got off the elevator and immediately opened fire, killing Goldsberry and wounding Morrow and Fanole. McKnight tossed explosives -- some tentatively identified as pipe bombs -- as he walked through the fourth floor. McKnight went to the clerk's office in the northwest corner of the building and told a woman, "You're not the one I'm looking for." Soon afterward, an explosive strapped to McKnight detonated. There were nine people in the clerk's office at the time. All took shelter in various offices. Law officers tried to telephone and page McKnight, who already had been identified by authorities. The women didn't respond because they didn't realize McKnight was dead. They finally were informed about 430 p.m.

Authorities said McKnight tried to take over the clerk's office, but he took no hostages before the explosion that killed him. Others in the building said 25 to 30 shots were fired in the 15 to 20 minutes before the gunfire ended. More than 100 law officers were sent to the scene, with at least 60 of them inside the building at the height of the action. Agencies involved included the KBI, FBI, Kansas Highway Patrol, Topeka Police Department, Shawnee County Sheriff's Department, U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Officers evacuated most of the more than five hundred federal building employees and those in the surrounding buildings. Federal judges and their staff members barricaded themselves in their offices, leaving only when reached by law officers. Kevin Streeter and Kirk Perkuhn, with Shirley Construction Company were installing bulletproof material in the U.S. attorney's office on the second floor of the federal building Wednesday morning. Perkuhn said he thought, "Man, this is bogus." Then he heard shots being fired. The two workmen quickly took refuge behind the wall. Streeter said, "That's the last thing you expect when you're a carpenter."

Authorities also had to deal with another man during the courthouse rampage. At first police thought the man was armed when, shortly before 1 p.m., he drove to the intersection of 4th and Kansas and was stopped by a highway patrol officer. Patti Kaeberle, police department spokeswoman, said the man "came to help," but voluntarily went to police headquarters. He had what appeared to be shotgun shells in a holster and Army ammunition cans in his car bus no guns. The man, Lawrence Lloyd, 43, was arrested and booked into Shawnee County Jail in connection with driving under the influence, jail officials said. He was released from jail Thursday.

Authorities expect the federal building to remain closed until Monday. It will take at least that long to make sure all the explosive devices have been removed and rendered safe. Employees at the federal building won't be able to retrieve their cars before Saturday. An FBI evidence response team and and ATF bomb team are expected to arrive today to assistant the crime scene. The two teams will be collecting evidence and handling other explosives that may still be there.