The Barton County Attorney’s Office wrapped up 2013 with a victory in the Kansas Court of Appeals, County Attorney Douglas Matthews announced Tuesday. On Dec. 26, the Court of Appeals released a mandate affirming the 2010 convictions of Jeffery Todd Hicks for aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary.
Hicks, 47, is incarcerated at the El Dorado Correctional Facility, where his custody level is high-medium. According to the Kansas Department of Corrections website, his earliest possible release date is Dec. 12, 2020.
In September of 2010, Hicks and Eligus Ricketts invaded a home at 1424 10th St. in Great Bend and held three people, through the use of a sawed-off shotgun. The victims were bound with duct tape, then Hicks and Ricketts drove off with several thousands of dollars worth of home electronics, including a 52-inch-flat-screen television, and other property.
After they freed themselves, one of the victims did some research on Facebook and then came up with a possible name. Based on that and the descriptions they provided to police, they were shown a photo lineup and positively identified both Hicks and Ricketts, according to Detective Terry Millard’s testimony at Hicks’ jury trial.
Both men were arrested at a Great Bend motel, but the stolen property was not recovered.
Hicks was originally charged with two counts of aggravated robbery, one count each of aggravated burglary and aggravated assault, and three counts of criminal restraint. Following a re-trial of the charges, he was convicted on six of the seven counts, along with an amended charge of theft.
In his arguments to the Kansas Court of Appeals, Hicks’ attorney said District Judge Hannelore Kitts erred when instructing the jury on some of the charges and the possibility of a deadlocked jury.
“However,” Matthews stated in a news release, “the Court of Appeals disagreed for the most part, holding in part that the evidence against Hicks was overwhelming. The Court of Appeals did reverse the conviction for misdemeanor theft, but this did not affect the remaining felony and misdemeanor convictions.”
The case was investigated by the Great Bend Police Department and Kansas Bureau of Investigation. The Barton County Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case and handled the appeal.
Ricketts was convicted on two counts of aggravated assault, after pleading “no contest” to amended charges. An attorney for Ricketts asked for leniency, saying Hicks was the mastermind of the robbery. According to the KDOC, Ricketts was paroled last June but violated parole and is now incarcerated at Lansing Correctional Facility, where his security level is medium. His earliest possible release date is Feb. 19.