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Man acquitted of murdering pregnant woman and her boyfriend in Kansas, prompting angry outburst from victim’s father in courtroom

A 41-year-old man has been acquitted of the 2016 murder of a pregnant woman and her boyfriend in a Topeka, Kansas, apartment.

The jury’s not guilty verdict Friday in the capital murder and rape case against Yanez Sanford sparked an angry outcry from the murdered woman’s father, Charles Trotter, who was asked to leave the courtroom.

“It’s all about truth and honesty, and what was served today is not that,” Trotter told the Topeka Capital-Journal while standing outside the courthouse with a relative in tears.

Her daughter, Camrah Trotter, 20, was killed while calling 911 after her boyfriend, Dominique Ray, 23, was fatally shot. Prosecutors said two men waited for Ray, opening fire when he arrived at the apartment with his cousin.

Trotter’s daughter, who was 4 at the time and is now 12, identified Sanford as the killer and remembers hiding under a bed afterward. But a defense witness said police often manipulate children into giving the answer the child thinks the investigator will consider the “correct” one.

And they claimed the cousin, Jamontez Fulton, who also identified Sanford, saw the shooters only briefly.

Prosecutors said Trotter, who was in her third trimester of pregnancy, was raped and DNA evidence identified Sanford’s seminal fluids. But Sanford’s lawyers said the DNA could remain in the body for a week and suggested that Sanford and Trotter had consensual sex in the week before her death.

The defense also argued that Ray’s killing was retaliation for the shooting death of another man and suggested other suspects were responsible.

But Dan Dunbar, a retired Shawnee County assistant district attorney working as a special prosecutor on the case, said police viewed the men not as “alternative suspects” but as potential “accomplices” of Sanford, and that she continued to investigate their possible involvement. No one else has been charged in the case.

The defense also suggested at trial that 30 police body camera videos that were inadvertently destroyed may have contained evidence that would have helped prove Sanford’s innocence.

ABC affiliate WIBW reported that Topeka police investigated the murders for four years before Sanford was arrested in Missouri in September 2020. He was later extradited to Kansas and charged with the murders.

Sanford became the fourth defendant acquitted of murder in Shawnee County since March 2023, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

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