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Suspect in deadly Fayette shooting pleads not guilty; lawyer claims self-defense


The suspect in the deadly shooting of a Central Methodist University football player pleaded not guilty Tuesday.

Kundarrius Taylor, 23, of Fayette, made his initial court appearance in Howard County on Tuesday. He was charged last week with first-degree murder in the shooting of Torrance Evans.

Taylor's lawyer, Ben Faber, said Tuesday that the shooting was self-defense. Faber pushed for Taylor to be released with electronic monitoring, saying he was not a danger to the community. Judge Mason Gebhardt ordered Taylor to be held without bond. Gebhardt quickly addressed Faber's claims of self-defense by citing the probable cause statement after Faber made claims the probable cause statement contained Taylor's statement explaining the shooting was in self-defense.

"I believe the PC said he felt disrespected," Gebhardt said. "There's a big difference," he said.

Faber said Taylor anticipates the case will go to trial, and he is seeking justice to be served.

The shooting happened in the 500 block of North Linn Street on Aug. 25.

Taylor told investigators he and Evans had not been getting along for about a month, according to court documents. During the interview with investigators, Taylor reportedly said he felt Evans disrespected him on several occasions.

Taylor shot Evans twice during an argument that led to a confrontation, according to court documents.

Howard County Prosecuting Attorney Deborah Riekhof indicated she doesn't buy the self-defense argument, saying the state is treating the case "as a murder one case," referring the first-degree murder. Riekhof doesn't believe the self-defense argument due to the fact in the probable cause statement, Taylor never mentioned he was afraid for his life or that Evans would hurt him. She protested the push to allow Taylor to be on electric monitor, citing he had a gun close to campus grounds.

Some of Evans' family members yelled at Taylor's family outside the courtroom. Many of Evans' teammates were at the hearing.

Central Methodist University canceled classes Friday in response to Evans' death. The school's football team held a moment of silence for Evans during Saturday's game.

A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for October 11th at 9 a.m., at the Howard County courthouse.

The Fayette Police Department has asked for the Missouri Division of Drug and Crime Control to help investigate the shooting.

Article Topic Follows: Crime

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Matthew Sanders

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