The Kansas Supreme Court has reversed a Shawnee County murder conviction for a second time.
The decision published Friday remands the case of James A Qualls III once again to district court. Qualls shot and killed Joseph Beier in the course of an angry confrontation in a bar in July 2008. A jury found him guilty of premeditated first-degree murder.
In a previous appeal, that first conviction was reversed because Shawnee County District Court failed to give proper lesser included offense instructions. On retrial, a jury again found him guilty, and he again appealed. He raised several issues on appeal, but the court elected to address only one of those issues this time around.
Writing for a unanimous Supreme Court, Justice Eric Rosen held the district court committed reversible error when it refused to give the self-defense instruction Qualls requested. The court noted substantial evidence supported an instruction that Qualls could be found not guilty if he was defending himself against a reasonably perceived threat of imminent harm.
Qualls second conviction was in 2014.