Johnson County authorities charged a 26-year-old Kansas City, KS man with capital murder in the deaths of a woman who was pregnant with his son.
Devonte Dominique Wash will face the death penalty if he is convicted in the January death of 23-year-old Ashley Harlan of Olathe.
Harlan was about 20 weeks pregnant when she died. She was killed on Jan 30. and found in the Westerfield Townhouses off East Westerfield Place. She was about to find out the gender of her unborn child when she was killed.
Kansas allows seeking a capital murder charge if the defendant knowingly or purposely killed or created a great risk of death to more than one person.
“Under the law, it doesn’t matter how many weeks into gestation the mother is," said Steve Howe, Johnson County District Attorney. He said it is too early to start talking about the death penalty.
Wash faced a judge for the first time at an arraignment on Friday.
It was an emotional day for Harlan's family outside the courthouse.
“We want justice for our niece," said Nikki Chapman, Harlan's aunt. “This is huge for our family.”
They are trying to move forward.
Wash is being held on a $5 million bond, but his arrest has not stopped the family from looking for more information and pleading with the public to call tips in.
Harlan moved from Manhattan to Olathe in early January to be nearer to Wash. She was living with her grandfather when she was killed.
Officers have not said how Harlan was killed but did say that her murder was not a random act of violence.
Harlan had only been in the Kansas City area for a month before being killed.
Neighbors who were there when Harlan died said the news that the suspect is in custody comes as a relief.
"It was kind of strange and a little scary to know that they didn’t have, kind of, a big lead or that that person just walked away," said Katie Campbell. "It was a little scary. I feel a lot better about it. It’s a terrible situation, but to know that person is no longer on the loose and can’t hurt anybody, it’s a good feeling.”
The Olathe Police Department is requesting additional information from the public. Anyone with information regarding the investigation is asked to call the Olathe Police Department at 913-971-6950 or the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477.
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