LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A relative of a slain Black 14-year-old is calling for a white Kansas teen to be tried on federal hate crime charges in the shooting death, noting recent testimony about threatening racial slurs.
Michael Berry, a cousin of Kamarjay Shaw, called for federal involvement in a letter to the U.S. attorney for Kansas, Kate Brubacher, the Lawrence Journal-World reported.
Derrick Del Reed was 17 when Shaw was killed in March but is charged as an adult with first-degree murder. The trial is set to start on Nov. 27, and the now-18-year-old is jailed on $500,000 bond.
During the preliminary hearing in August, a detective testified Reed used threatening racial slurs in Snapchat messages sent the morning of the shooting. Reed said in the messages he was tired of fighting with Shaw and his friends and was ready to start shooting, the detective testified.
The hearing ended with the judge finding enough evidence for the case to proceed to trial.
Reed’s defense attorney didn’t immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press on Saturday inquiring about the request.
The defense previously tried to gain immunity from prosecution via a self-defense claim, but that was denied. Testimony showed the shooting happened after a teenage girl called one of the boys hanging out with Shaw via Snapchat and told Shaw to come outside because Reed wanted to fight him.
Shaw was at least half a football field away from Reed’s front door when gunfire erupted, witness testimony showed.