Supreme Court orders new trial in Topeka homicide

TOPEKA, Kansas (AP) – The Kansas Supreme Court has ordered a new trial for a man convicted of a Topeka murder that occurred after an argument over a game of pool.

The court ruled Friday that James Arthur Qualls should get a new trial for the July 2008 shooting death of 30-year-old Joseph Beier in the Whiplash Bar. Qualls was convicted of first-degree murder after a 2010 trial.

The court said Shawnee County District Court Judge Jan Leuenberger should have instructed the jury to consider a voluntary manslaughter conviction. The jury was given options only for first-degree murder and second-degree intentional murder.

Qualls testified during his trial that he thought shot Beier because he thought the man was reaching for a weapon.

No weapon was ever found on Beier. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language, racial slurs or consistent name calling will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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