Kansas Supreme Court Reverses Murder Conviction

The Kansas Supreme Court has reversed the first-degree murder conviction of a Wichita man who shot another man during a botched drug deal.

Mark Holley III was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 2019 for the shooting death of 18-year-old D’Shaun Smith in 2017.

Holley argued he shot Smith in self-defense after Smith aimed at a gun at him and tried to rob him after a marijuana deal fell through.

The court ruled the Sedgwick County District judge committed reversible error when he did not include a self-defense instruction during jury instructions.

The court said a self-defense instruction was “legally and factually appropriate in the case.”

The court upheld Holley’s conviction on two child endangerment charges arising from a separate incident that occurred about a month before Smith’s death.

Prosecutors said Holley tried to rob a man while the victim’s two young children were in the backseat of his car.