A Johnson County judge has found sufficient evidence to support all five charges against a Prairie Village man accused of intentionally setting a fire at a Shawnee home in February that killed his 17-month-old son.
What’s the latest: Nicholas Ecker, 28, appeared in Johnson County District Court Wednesday afternoon and pleaded not guilty to five felony counts against him.
- Those charges include first-degree murder, aggravated arson with risk of bodily harm, aggravated domestic battery, stalking after being served and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
What’s next: Ecker’s next court appearance will be a scheduling conference on Sept. 21, when a trial date could be set.
- He has remained in the custody of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office at the adult detention center in New Century since being arrested by Shawnee Police in front of the burning home in the early morning hours of Feb. 13.
Mother also charged: The boy’s mother, Karlie Phelps, 28, is also facing charges in connection to the child’s death.
- She has been charged with felony involuntary manslaughter of a child under the age of six and a misdemeanor of endangering a child under the age of 18.
- A second felony, for possession of oxycodone, was filed 13 days after the fire.
- She was arrested again in March, nearly a month after the fire, and charged with two new misdemeanors for allegedly violating a protection order and for intimidation of a witness.
- Phelps is scheduled for a plea hearing next Thursday.
Mike Frizzell is a freelance crime and fire reporter who runs Operation 100 News.