Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson announces that today in the Division Six courtroom a jury convicted Texas resident Julius Aaron Fugate, 24, of aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary and felony criminal threat.
On Wednesday, October 15, 2014 at approximately 9:00 p.m. officers with the Lawrence Police Department were dispatched to an apartment in the 200 block of North Michigan Street. The victim was home alone with her children and she was waiting for her sister to arrive so that they could watch a television show together. She heard a knock at the door and when she opened the door, she found two men armed with handguns. The men put their guns in her face and ordered her back inside her apartment. They demanded to know where the ‘drugs’ were located. When the victim was unable to meet their demand, one of the men ransacked her bedroom, where her two year old son was sleeping. When they did not find what they were looking for, one of the men forced the victim to kneel on the floor and placed a handgun to her head and further questioned her about drugs. One of the suspects pulled the trigger of the gun and the victim heard a ‘click’ sound and then he pulled the trigger a second time. After terrorizing the adult victim, one of the suspects picked up the victim’s one year old daughter, held the gun to the daughter’s head and also pulled the gun’s trigger. When the adult victim was unable to meet any of the suspects demands, they told her they knew what her children looked like, where they lived, warned her they would return and then they left her apartment.
Through detectives’ investigation of the crime, the identities of the armed men were discovered. Mr. Fugate was one suspect and the other suspect was identified as Mr. Duane D. Russell, 23. See below for the status of Mr. Russell’s case.
Mr. Fugate’s jury trial began on Wednesday, August 26. A jury was selected on the opening day of the trial and opening arguments were delivered that afternoon. The trial continued all day Thursday, closing arguments were delivered today beginning at 1:30 p.m. and the case went to the jury at approximately 2:30. The jury deliberated for about two hours before returning its verdict.
Mr. Fugate faces a range of 55 to 247 months imprisonment for the aggravated robbery conviction, 31 to 136 months imprisonment for the aggravated burglary conviction and 5 to 17 months imprisonment for the criminal threat conviction. His actual sentence will be dependent on his prior criminal history. The judge ordered he be held without bond until his sentencing hearing, which was scheduled for October 9 at 10:00 a.m.
The Honorable Peggy C. Kittel presided over the trial. The case was investigated by the Lawrence Police Department and the trial was prosecuted by Chief Assistant District Attorney David Melton.
Case co-defendant Mr. Russell has a separate criminal case pending in Douglas County District Court. His case, 2014CR845, is currently set for a status conference hearing on December 1 at 10:00 and a jury trial on December 28 at 9:00. In all cases, defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. The charges against Mr. Russell merely contain allegations of criminal conduct.