Summor Hoss was three months pregnant with Damon Galyardt’s baby when Galyardt died last November. On Wednesday, Hoss testified at the preliminary hearing of Jeffrey Chapman, a man she and her boyfriend Galyardt once considered a friend.
Chapman is charged with the premeditated murder of Gallyardt on Nov. 11 or early on Nov. 12, 2011, in Barton County. At the end of Wednesday’s preliminary hearing, Magistrate Judge Don Alvord ruled that prosecutors had shown enough evidence for the felony case to be bound over the Barton County District Court. Chapman’s arraignment was tentatively set for 10 a.m. on Nov. 9.
Chapman’s attorneys, Jeff Wicks and Tim Frieden from the Death Penalty Defense Unit in Wichita, called no witnesses for this stage of the case. Although they were appointed, the state is not seeking the death penalty for Chapman.
Hoss said she and Galyardt had been arguing about him “having a meth problem” and her not wanting to raise a child in those conditions. Chapman started coming around often after he got out of jail last October, and was someone Galyardt would list to.
“I’d call him whenever Damon wouldn’t answer my phone calls,” Hoss said. Last Nov. 11, Galyardt came home for the first time in almost a week. He was coming off of drugs and was sleeping on the couch around 9:30 p.m. when Hoss called Chapman and left the house.
“What did you say?” asked Assistant Attorney General Steven Karrer. He and Assistant County Attorney Amy Mellor are prosecuting the case.
“‘Just leave him alone,’” he said. “(Chapman) said, ‘No, but I need to get ahold of him.’”
Hoss returned to an empty house on Nov. 12. She found both pairs of Galyardt’s shoes, which seemed odd. The living room rug was pulled up and a coffee table was out of place. “There was a bullet (casing) on the floor. I threw it in the trash can.”
Hoss cried during this part of her testimony, and when Karrer showed her a photo of Galyardt’s body she covered her eyes with her hand and began to sob. Friends and family of of Damon Galyardt who were in the courtroom also began sobbing, and two had to leave the room. They were later able to return.
Other witnesses testified that Chapman had been seen with a .32 caliber handgun and had ammunition for it. Others said they heard Chapman threaten to kill Galyardt.
Sarah Bauer testified, “I didn’t really think much about (the threats) before. (Chapman) said that he would him to kill him. I didn’t take it seriously at the time.”
Jeanna Rader, who said Chapman was her former boyfriend, said he sent her a text the evening of Nov. 11 and asked her to monitor her police scanner for news about a “homicide.” “It said ‘homicide,’ but my mind went to suicide,” she said. Chapman arrived later.
“What did he say?” Karrer asked.
“That he might of killed somebody.”
Shayla Richmeier loaned Chapman her car, and Chapman and another man left for about five minutes; Chapman left again and was gone 25-30 minutes, Rader testified. He called and told her he’d hit a dog with the borrowed car.
“He thought it was his sister’s dog,” Rader recalled. He picked the dog up, and it bled on the back seat of the car. He realized it was not his sister’s dog and it was bleeding, so he put it out of the car. He asked Rader to help clean up the mess, so when he returned she started to clean the spot with Resolve carpet cleaner and a rag. However, she stopped cleaning when Chapman walked inside. “I figured if I was going to help him clean up that mess from the dog, he could help too,” she said.
The next day, detectives called Richmeier about her car.
Richmeier owned a 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix that Chapman asked to borrow on Nov. 11. In the car were the jeans she had just purchased at The Buckle in Hutchinson and a receipt for $89.63.
After Galyardt’s body was discovered in a ditch south of Great Bend on, a friend she called “Spike” told her that police were looking for her car and he wanted to hide it. “I asked for my Buckle jeans and he said they weren’t in there.”
Barton County Deputies Kyle Reed and Richard Allen, Barton County Sheriff’s Office Detective Rick Popp and Lt. Brian Bellinder all testified about their criminal investigation, as did Kansas Bureau of Investigation Agency Corey Latham. KBI lab reports were also entered as evidence.
Their investigation turned up a bloody glove that had the DNA of both Chapman and Galyardt, between the crime scene town. A pair of jeans and Richmeier’s Buckle receipt, with blood on it, were found near the body, and a .32 caliber bullet was taken from Galyardt’s body at his autopsy.