It’s not uncommon for the Kansas Attorney General’s Office to handle cases at the county level, but it can only do so at the request of the local county or district attorney.
Although there is no written rule in Kansas, "county or district attorneys have original jurisdiction in their counties or districts," said Gavin Young, a spokesperson for AG Steve Six. Six was in Great Bend Monday for the first appearance of Adam Joseph Longoria on vehicle- theft charges. He remains in jail for those charges, but is also a person of interest in the Alicia DeBolt killing.
The AG was asked by Barton County Attorney Doug Matthews to prosecute the Longoria case.
"But, situations do arise when it is not feasible for the local attorney to prosecute a case," Young said. There may be a conflict of interest with the attorney or member of the staff, or the office lacks the time and resources to handle the job.
"At that point, they can request that the Attorney General’s Office take the case." Young stressed the AG does not take cases over, but goes in only when invited.
In the last fiscal year, the AG’s Office has taken on 292 cases. Some of those were at the request of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, not local prosecutors.
Since July 1, however, Six’s office has filed 31 cases on behalf of local attorneys. Of those, 13 have been child sex crimes and seven have been homicides. The balance are assorted other charges.
In Barton County, Young said the AG’s Office is also currently handling the case of Shawn Ney, the 32-year-old Hoisington man charged with the July 10 shotgun shooting of his estranged wife Sarah Ney and her sister’s husband, Steven Calderwood. Calderwood later died of his wounds. Ney is at Larned State Hospital undergoing evaluation.
Prior to that, Attorney General Phill Kline charged Sydney Gleason, 24, and his cousin, Damian Thompson, 25, both of Lyons, with capital murder, first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping in the Feb. 21, 2004, shooting death in Great Bend of Darren Wornkey, 24, and the kidnapping and slaying of his 19-year-old girlfriend, Mikiala "Miki" Martinez. Both were convicted and remain in prison.
Young said it remains to be determined if Six will handle the Longoria case personally, or assign it to someone in his office. Six has handled and earned convictions in homicides in Osborne and Butler counties.
In Kansas there are six district attorneys in the most populous counties – Douglas, Johnson, Reno, Sedgwick and Shawnee and Wyandotte, according to the Kansas County and District Attorney Association. There are 99 county attorneys.