Jeffrey Wade Chapman entered a plea of “not guilty” to first degree murder, during his arraignment Friday in Barton County District Court. Chapman, 31, of Pawnee Rock, is charged with the intentional, premeditated murder of Damon Galyardt on Nov. 11 or early Nov. 12, 2011.
District Judge Hannelore Kitts presided over Friday’s hearing. Attorneys for Chapman have requested a pretrial hearing and a trial by jury. The next court date has not been scheduled.
Galyardt’s body was discovered on land southwest of Great Bend on Nov. 12, 2011. Hunters contacted the sheriff’s office at 8:47 a.m. that morning after finding a body in a ditch on the north side of 250 SW 60 Road (6 miles south of Great Bend, and about 2.5 miles west), between the road and a row a trees. The victim, later identified as Galyardt, was wearing black pants and had a blanket wrapped around him. Authorities later said he’d been shot with a .32 caliber bullet and died either Nov. 11 or 12. He was 25 years old.
The case was investigation by the Barton County Sheriff’s Office and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. Chapman was bound over for arraignment last month after a preliminary hearing before Magistrate Judge Don Alvord.
It is not known which judge will preside over future hearings in this case, since Judge Kitts did not seek reelection and has announced plans to retire.
Although this is not a capital murder case, Chapman is being defended by Jeff Wicks and Tim Frieden from the Death Penalty Defense Unit in Wichita. Assistant Attorney General Steven Karrer and Assistant Barton County Attorney Amy Mellor are prosecuting the case