Sedgwick County District Attorney Mark Bennett says he’s looking into the death of Cedric Lofton at the county’s Juvenile Intake Center but that the ruling by the coroner of CJ’s death as a homicide may not necessarily lead to charges being filed.

In a statement released on Thurs., Dec. 30 Bennett said that since the coroner’s ruling he and his staff met with agents from the Kansas Bureau of Investigations and detectives with the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office to discuss the investigation into the death of Cedric Lofton.  Bennet said this was the sixth time members of his office have met with investigators from one or both agencies since CJ’s death in September.

Click here to read Bennett’s complete statement. 

Bennett and his team are “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.

Even though the coroner has ruled the death a homicide, Bennett said the term “homicide” does not reflect a legal determination regarding the viability of criminal charges.  

Whether or not criminal charges can be brought is a separate, legal determination to be made by the Office of the District Attorney based on the laws of the State of Kansas and the evidence collected by law enforcement,” said Bennett’s statement.

 “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. 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.”   

To be considered, said Bennet is an assessment of “intent.”  In a long paragraph, Bennett discussed a variety of aspect of “intent” but it appeared apparent that the driving factor of whether he will charge the JIAC employee who sat on CJ until he was unconscious and near death, is not necessarily a given.

Absent some unforeseen circumstance, the Office of the District Attorney anticipates completing the review in the next 10-15 business days.   The public will be notified at that time.

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