Case against man charged in Shawnee Wal-Mart shooting will move to trial

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OLATHE, Kan. -- Johnson County Prosecutors laid out their case in court on Tuesday against the man charged in a September incident at a Shawnee Wal-Mart that left one man dead and two people injured.

Arthur Fred Wyatt III

Arthur Fred Wyatt III

Arthur Fred Wyatt III, 27, of Overland Park, Kan., faces charges of attempted first degree murder, attempted aggravated kidnapping, and attempted aggravated robbery in the Sept. 11, 2016 incident. Prosecutors say Wyatt was one of two men that attacked a woman in the parking lot of the Shawnee Wal-mart that Sunday afternoon.

The woman said the two men physically assaulted her while she was putting her baby in her vehicle, leaving the mother with head injuries.

During that attack, two Good Samaritans ran to the woman's rescue, resulting in one Good Samaritan shot and injured, and one suspect, identified as 28-year-old John W. Simmons III of Kansas City, Mo., shot and killed at the scene by another Good Samaritan.

After several hours of testimony on Tuesday, the judge decided there was enough evidence to send Wyatt's case to trial.

The most compelling testimony came from the female victim, and the two Good Samaritans who answered her cries for help.

You can still see the scars on Joshua Owen's face from being shot by Simmons. Owen, an Air Force veteran was shot three times, and described what he called a life-or-death fight with Simmons.

"After that, he laid the barrel of the gun on my chest, and I managed to fight enough to get the angle proper and it just shot through my upper torso through my back shoulder," Owen recalled.

Before Simmons could get off a fourth shot, another Good Samaritan, who testified but did not want to appear on camera, stepped in to eliminate the threat.

"At that point, I pulled my pistol and unloaded on Mr. Simmons," the man said. He said he shot "until it was empty, seven shots."

Wyatt's attorney Carl Cornwell said his client was in the wrong place with the wrong person and didn't know what was going to happen.

"I think the thing that came out of this today was that there are two people who put their lives at risk to help a woman who was having issues, somebody was assaulting her, and I do not believe it was my client," Cornwell said.

The victim pointed out Wyatt in court, saying he is the man who assaulted her.

"We didn't know that until she pointed because it's not in any of her statements. It's not in any video that I've seen," Cornwell said.

Despite the evidence that convinced a judge there is probable cause to send Wyatt's case to trial, the suspect's family maintains his innocence.

"Those witnesses lied on that stand. That's all I want to say," his mother said.

Wyatt's aunt said she is sure he is innocent "because I know him, and I know what type of person he is."

While his family defends his character, this is not the first time Wyatt does have a violent past. Wyatt was released from the Kansas Department of Corrections in July after serving a sentence for a 2009 involuntary manslaughter case in Wyandotte County and subsequent violation of probation.

Wyatt will be back in court on Friday.

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