County attorney may change charges against deputy
Kohl considers replacing misdemeanor with felony charge
Leavenworth County Attorney Frank Kohl is considering a stiffer charge against a Leavenworth County sheriff's deputy accused of causing the death of a volunteer firefighter last December.
Robert J. Peterman is charged in Leavenworth County District Court with vehicular homicide, a misdemeanor. The charges stem from his alleged role in the traffic death of Jared Moore, a 19-year-old Fairmount Township Fire Department firefighter.
At the advice of his attorney, Kiann McBratney, Peterman did not attend the a court hearing on Thursday. Defendants accused of misdemeanor charges are not required to appear in court.
With Moore's family seated behind him wearing T-shirts decorated with photographs of the fallen firefighter, Kohl informed Judge Martin Asher and McBratney that he would make a decision by June 12 whether to amend the charge against the accused deputy.
Following the hearing, Kohl said he is considering leveling an involuntary manslaughter charge against Peterman, which is a felony.
"I'm going to think about it long and hard," the prosecutor said.
Kohl described the charge as the "performance of a lawful act in an unlawful manner." If the charge is amended and should Peterman be convicted, sentencing would fall under the discretion of the judge.
"There's no presumption," Kohl said.
As it stands now, if Peterman is convicted of the vehicular homicide charge, prosecutors said he would be sentenced to either a year in jail or probation.
On Dec. 29, 2004, Peterman's patrol car collided with Moore's civilian vehicle at the intersection of 155th Street and Donahoo Road. Both public servants were on their way to the scene of an injury accident.
Moore died as result of injuries sustained in the crash. After reviewing a Kansas Highway Patrol investigation report into the accident, the district attorney filed charges against Peterman.