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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — On Tuesday, a Jackson County judge granted a request by a former Kansas City, Missouri, police officer convicted of killing a man.

Judge Dale Youngs granted Eric DeValkenaere bond as he appeals his conviction.

DeValkenaere’s attorney, Molly Hastings argued DeValkenaere should be allowed to remain free through the appeals process because he’s not a flight risk and the judge found “no evidence of malice” in DeValkenaere’s conduct.

On Tuesday morning, the judge agreed.

Attorneys planning for DeValkanaere’s appeal argued there was no good reason to deny his freedom during that process saying, of prosecutor’s opposition, that they “have nothing to refute his character.”

“If the appeal is unsuccessful Eric will still have to serve his sentence. It may not be on March 4. It may not be under the presence of scrutiny and media attention and applauding members of the victim’s family,” Molly Hastings, an attorney representing DeValkanaere, said.

“But if the verdict is upheld they will still get their time,” Hastings said.

“The danger that he faces if incarcerated is different than that of any other defendant that has been in front of you. And that’s for obvious reasons,” Hastings said.

Jackson County Circuit Court Judge J. Dale Youngs responded negatively to that argument citing rules from the Missouri Supreme Court.

“It does not talk about the safety of the defendant as being a factor in terms of whether or not to allow a defendant to be conditionally released,” Youngs said.

At the same time, prosecutors argued this kind of release should not necessarily be granted as a matter of course.

But Judge Youngs said the main considerations in this decision are potential risks to the community and the chance DeValkanaere would run before punishment.

“He’s known that since last November and yet here he is. So if there was a flight risk I don’t know if I would have waited, if I was Mr. DeValkanaere, to fly to Panama,” Youngs said.

“I think I would have done it on November whatever-the-date-was when I rendered the verdict in the case,” Youngs said.

DeValkenaere was found guilty of second-degree involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action in the death of Cameron Lamb.

DeValkenaere and his partner were called to Lamb’s neighborhood for a traffic incident near East 41st Street and College Avenue on Dec. 13, 2019. A police helicopter saw a red pickup, believed to have been involved in the incident, turn into Lamb’s garage. The two officers followed Lamb onto his property.

During the trial, DeValkenaere admitted to shooting Lamb, but said it was to protect his partner after Lamb pulled a gun and pointed it at the other officer. DeValkenaere’s partner testified that he didn’t see a weapon in Lamb’s hand.

Judge Youngs found the officers had no probable cause to believe that Lamb had committed a crime before the shooting, and had no arrest warrant, search warrant or consent to be on Lamb’s property.

DeValkenaere’s conviction carries a mandatory prison term. He could face up to four years in prison for the involuntary manslaughter charge and at least three years for the armed criminal action charge. 

He is scheduled to be sentenced in Lamb’s death on March 4.

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