Attorneys for a former Kansas City police detective who was found guilty in the shooting death of Cameron Lamb said Wednesday they would like their client to remain free on bond while appealing his case.
Eric DeValkenaere was convicted during a bench trial in November of second-degree involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action in the Dec. 3, 2019, killing.
DeValkenaere fatally shot Lamb as the 26-year-old backed his pickup truck into the garage of his home at 4154 College Ave.
During a case review conference on Wednesday, defense attorney Molly Hastings asked Jackson County Circuit Court Judge J. Dale Youngs if he would be open to allowing DeValkenaere to remain free on bond after his March 4 sentencing.
“We know that because of the unique position Eric is in, we have some very real safety concerns about where he would be housed if he were to be taken into custody on the day of the sentencing,” Hastings said.
Youngs could sentence DeValkenaere to four years in prison on the manslaughter conviction and at least three years for the armed criminal action charge. The judge will decide if those are to be served concurrently or consecutively.
Since the conviction, DeValkenaere has remained free on a $30,000, which was set after he was initially charged.
On Wednesday, a Kansas City police spokeswoman said that DeValkenaere is no longer with the department and his last day was Monday.
Hastings said they plan to appeal the conviction, but noted that could take a considerable amount of time. And one of the charges DeValkenaere has been convicted of requires a mandatory prison sentence.
Dion Sankar, Jackson County deputy chief prosecutor, said that DeValkenaere was no different from other criminal defendants who have been found guilty.
“We will take a consistent position as we’ve always taken that we don’t see the appeal issue obviously the same way Ms. Hastings has indicated,” Sankar said.
The shooting unfolded after officers investigating an unrelated vehicle crash reported a red pickup chasing a Ford Mustang. Helicopter officers spotted the truck driven by Lamb and followed the vehicle to his residence on College Ave.
DeValkenaere said he fired several gunshots after Lamb pointed a gun at his partner detective Troy Schwalm. Police investigators found Lamb inside the truck with his left arm and head hanging out of the driver’s side window. A handgun was found on the ground near Lamb’s left hand, police said at the time.
Prosecutors alleged the crime scene was staged and evidence was planted. They also said it took only nine seconds from the time DeValkenaere arrived at the front yard of the house to the moment he fatally shot Lamb.
Youngs said DeValkenaere and Schwalm did not have a search warrant or an arrest warrant, and did not have consent to be on the property. There was no evidence where someone was harmed or in imminent danger that would given the detectives a reason to be in the backyard.
On Wednesday, Hastings said she requested the conference so the issue could be addressed prior to the sentencing hearing.
“I think it is a reasonable request just to have a feel so that Eric and his family can prepare in advance so that we have an idea of what your thoughts are,” she said.
Youngs said in his 13 years as a judge, he could not remember granting a defendant such a request after they had been convicted. The request by defense attorneys was unique and would be “unprecedented for me.”
”The only thing I’ve ever done is remanded someone to custody,” Youngs said.