Archive for Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Tonganoxie man guilty in carjacking

December 29, 2004

A rural Tonganoxie man will be sentenced in February in connection with a carjacking in the parking garage of a Kansas University residence hall.

A jury found Jesse A. Plaster, 23, guilty last Wednesday in Douglas County District Court in Lawrence on two felony counts: aggravated robbery and fleeing to elude police. He was charged with approaching a KU freshman on Sept. 27 and demanding her keys at gunpoint. He later led police on a high-speed chase near campus that ended when he drove the stolen car into a dead-end near 12th and Indiana streets.

Assistant Dist. Atty. Dan Dunbar told jurors all the evidence in the case pointed to Plaster, including the victim's identification after his arrest.

"I almost feel like I'm insulting your intelligence by sitting here telling you the obvious," Dunbar said during closing arguments.

Plaster's attorney, Jim George, argued that even though Plaster was found driving the stolen car, there was nothing that clearly linked him to the robbery minutes earlier. He argued that KU police should have asked the victim to identify Plaster in a lineup, but instead they told her they'd caught the suspect, shined a spotlight on him as he stood surrounded by officers and asked the victim if that was the robber.

"If that's not suggestive, I don't know what is," George said.

Plaster will be sentenced Feb. 4.

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