Court overturns Topeka bar killer’s conviction again

Local News

The state Supreme Court has overturned a conviction in a 2008 Topeka killing for the second time because a judge failed to give appropriate instructions to the jury.

Two different juries convicted James Qualls of first-degree murder for shooting and killing Joseph “Joe Bob” Beier at Whiplash bar in Southeast Topeka after a night of drinking at Fiesta Mexicana.

The shooting stemmed from a fight over a pool game between Qualls and Beier’s girlfriend.

In the first trial, the court said a judge failed to provide the jury information on convicting Qualls on lesser charges.

Now, the supreme court has decided in his 2014 retrial a Shawnee County judge failed to provide the jury information that Qualls could be found not guilty if he was acting in self-defense.

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