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Man acquitted in killing of pregnant woman and boyfriend in Kansas, prompting courtroom outburst from victim's father

Shots fired: America's epidemic of gun violence
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A 41-year-old man has been acquitted in the 2016 killing of a pregnant woman and her boyfriend at a Topeka, Kansas apartment.

The jury's verdict of not guilty Friday in the capital murder and rape case against Yanez Sanford was met with an angry outcry from the slain woman's father, Charles Trotter, who was asked to leave the courtroom.

"This is all about truth and honesty, and what was served today was not that," Trotter told The Topeka Capital-Journal as he stood outside the courthouse with a wailing relative.

His daughter, 20-year-old Camrah Trotter, was killed as she called 911 after her boyfriend, 23-year-old Dominique Ray, was fatally shot. Prosecutors said two men had waited for Ray, opening fire when he arrived at the apartment with his cousin.

Trotter's daughter, who was 4 at the time and is now 12, identified Sanford as the killer and recalled hiding under a bed afterward. But a defense witness said police often manipulate children into giving the answer the child thinks the investigator will consider to be the "right" one.

And they contended that the cousin, Jamontez Fulton, who also identified Sanford, saw the shooters only briefly.

Prosecutors said Trotter, who was in her third trimester of pregnancy, was raped and that DNA evidence identified Sanford's seminal fluids. But Sanford's attorneys said DNA can remain in the body for a week, and suggested Sanford and Trotter had consensual sex during the week before she died.

The defense also argued that Ray's killing was retaliation for the shooting death of another man and suggested other suspects were responsible.

But Dan Dunbar, a retired Shawnee County chief deputy district attorney working as a special prosecutor on the case, said police consider those men to be not "alternative suspects" but potential "accomplices" of Sanford's, and were continuing to investigate their possible involvement. No one else has been charged in the case.

The defense also suggested at trial that 30 police body camera videos that were inadvertently destroyed may have contained evidence that would have helped prove Sanford's innocence.

CBA affiliate WIBW reported that Topeka police investigated the murders for four years before Sanford was arrested in Missouri in September 2020. He was then extradited back to Kansas and charged with the murders.

Sanford became the fourth defendant acquitted of murder in Shawnee County since March 2023,  The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

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