Sedgwick County DA expects Jan. decision on charges in Cedric Lofton’s death

Sedgwick County Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center in Wichita, Kansas
Sedgwick County Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center in Wichita, Kansas(KWCH)
Published: Dec. 29, 2021 at 7:36 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office detailed its efforts in reviewing the case of a teen’s in-custody death from September, including a timeline in which a decision on possible criminal charges could be made. Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett’s Office said he “anticipates completing the review in the next 10 to 15 business days,” at which point, “the public will be notified.”

The DA’s Office said on Tuesday, Dec. 28, attorneys and investigators with the Office met with KBI agents and Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office detectives to discuss the death investigation.

“This marked the sixth time members of the Office of the District Attorney have met with investigators from one or both agencies since September,” a news release from the DA’s Office said.  The District Attorney is in the process of reviewing over 90 items of evidence including interviews, transcripts, surveillance videos and axon (body camera) videos provided by investigators throughout the investigation.”

In its release, Bennett’s Office clarified that just because an autopsy determined the manner of death as homicide does not mean a crime occurred, or, “does not reflect a legal determination on the part of the pathologist regarding the viability of criminal charges.”

Based on Kansas laws and evidence collected by law enforcement, the DA’s Office will will determine if criminal charges can be brought in this case.

“A Guide for Medical Examiners” published by the National Association of Medical Examiners, recognizes there are typically five descriptors utilized in autopsy reports when listing a manner of death:  (1) Natural; (2) Accident; (3) Suicide; (4) Homicide; and (5)  Undetermined.,” the DA’s Office explained.  “The term “homicide” reflects a determination that a volitional (non-accidental) act was committed by a person other than the deceased that contributed to the death of the deceased.  The finding does not reflect a dispositive legal conclusion that the elements of murder or homicide are present.”

In its news release, the DA’s Office further breaks down what the guide explains and further recognizes.

“Though the identification of a cause of death set forth in the autopsy report is a necessary step in the investigative process, the legal determination as to the viability of criminal charges requires a separate legal examination.  That work is ongoing,” the DA’s Office explained.

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