HUTCHINSON, Kan. — A Reno County jury found Brennan Trass guilty of first-degree murder and criminal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon after only 45 minutes of deliberation Thursday.
Trass was found guilty for the two charges associated with the shooting and killing of 24-year-old Jose Morales in August of 2015. Trass shot and killed Morales in a Hutchinson residence in what the state says was an illegal drug transaction.
The state told the jury that Trass pulled the gun from the waistband of the victim and fired three shots at Morales. He then fired 10 more shots down a hall at others attempting to flee the home.
Trass claimed self-defense, but “Morales was overheard saying ‘no, no,’” Deputy District Attorney Tom Stanton said during his closing.
Trass was pulled from the courtroom Thursday morning after an outburst that angered Reno County District Judge Trish Rose. The defense was then handled by Salina attorney Bobby Hiebert, who had been backup counsel.
During his closing, Hiebert claimed that police jumped to conclusions. Hiebert said Trass panicked when other armed men entered the home. Hiebert questioned why the authorities didn’t follow up with an additional investigation over those claims.
With the guilty verdict, Reno County District Judge Trish Rose set sentencing for May 10. Trass could receive a life sentence with no chance of parole for 51 years.