Pool photo from the Hutch News
HUTCHINSON, Kan. – After the state has rested their case in the trial for a local teen accused of the murder of his mother and sister. The defense for Samuel Vonachen began theirs by recalling police detectives over the investigation.
He’s charged with two counts of first-degree murder, attempted first degree murder and aggravated arson after allegedly setting a fire to his family’s home back on Sept. 26, 2013.
Vonachen attorney, John Henderson at one point called Hutchinson Police Detective Scott Carlson to the stand over cell phone records belonging to the defendant. It was during that testimony that the defense opened the door for the state to bring in a photo downloaded by Vonachen to his phone the night of the murder, in fact just hours before he allegedly started the fire. That image from “My Little Pony” which had a picture of the pony with the word murder repeated across the picture in different sizes. The state was also able to show that he had visited the site and first accessed this photo a couple of other times in the weeks prior to setting the fire.
Most of the rest of the defense witnesses called to the stand Friday were character witnesses including the defendants grandmother who testified that she never saw anything out of the ordinary and described the relationships among the family as normal.
Prior to the state resting, the defense was also able to call a number of teachers from the Buhler school district who told the jury that he was quiet, but none indicated that they saw any substantial evidence that he was anti-social.
The state ended their case with Dr. Shelby Evans, a psychologist who also did an evaluation of the defendant and also agrees that he was capable forming intent to commit murder.
After the state rested, the defense asked for a judgment of acquittal which was denied.
The trial is expected to continue into next week.