“Kyle needed work, and Steve offered the kid a job,” Stephanie Ingram, sister of the late Steven Free, said. “But Steve said Kyle was being real lazy, and Steve was the boss, so he told Kyle he didn’t want to work with him no more. Steve told him to get on down the road.”
Ingram said she thinks that caused something inside Kyle Flack “to snap.”
That night, after firing Flack, Free was playing pool with a couple of other people inside the garage next to his sister’s mobile home at the corner of Third and Cherry streets in Ottawa, Ingram said. Free left the game for a moment to urinate on a mulberry tree in the yard near the garage, she said. And that’s when Flack, who was waiting in the shadows near the garage, shot Free five times with a small-caliber handgun, Ingram said.
“I was inside our house, and the shots sounded like firecrackers going off — pop, pop, pop,” Ingram said. “We ran outside, and Steve was lying in the grass by the tree. Kyle had emptied the gun on him.”
Ingram said Flack, then-19, disappeared into the darkness, and it took three days for the authorities to locate him in a ditch between Ottawa and Pomona.
“He was headed to his grandma’s house in Pomona,” Ingram said.
Flack was convicted in 2005 of intentional attempted murder in the second degree after pleading no contest in the shooting of Free, then-47, according to Franklin County District Court documents. Flack was paroled in 2009 after serving less than four years of a 59-month sentence, according to the Kansas Department of Corrections.
Flack, now 27, was arrested early Thursday in connection with a triple homicide at 3197 Georgia Road, west of Ottawa, and booked into Franklin County jail on suspicion of first degree murder. The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office released the identities of the three bodies found Monday and Tuesday at that location as Kaylie Bailey, 21, Andrew Stout, 30, and Steven White, 31,
Bailey and her 18-month-old daughter, Lana, were reported missing May 3. Stout and White were last seen April 25. Flack reportedly had been living in the modular home on the property, where Stout’s and White’s bodies were found, before Stout “kicked him out” for not paying rent, a friend of the homicide victims said Tuesday. Bailey’s body was found under a tarp in a detached garage on the 4.7-acre tract of land. Her daughter, Lana, still is missing. Baby clothes were found near Bailey’s body in the garage, eyewitnesses said. Bailey was said to be in a relationship with Stout.
A 2005 report from the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office said two guns related to the Free shooting case were found in a search near K-68 and Idaho Road — an area about a mile from the farm at 3197 Georgia Road.
Authorities had been searching for Flack, as well as a black 2007 Toyota Corolla he allegedly was driving. The vehicle was recovered unoccupied 8:30 p.m. Tuesday in Emporia. Flack later was located at about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday in Emporia, Franklin County Sheriff Jeff Richards said Wednesday. Bailey and her daughter were last seen May 1 in Olathe on their way to the Georgia Road residence in the Corolla bearing Kansas Tag 618DAA, with a tag on front saying “Shawna’s toy” and duct tape on passenger side mirror, according to press release from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation Wednesday afternoon.
The initial news that Flack was a person of interest in the case did not come as a shock to Ingram, she said.
“It didn’t surprise me at all — Kyle has some mental instabilities. I think he’s a psychopath,” Ingram said. “If you ever met him, you would feel that vibe right off. I was friends with his mother, Judy, and I know his family, but I stopped talking with her after Kyle shot Steve.”
Court documents prepared about Flack before his sentencing in the 2005 Free shooting indicated he had no previous criminal history but did have a history of mental illness. Flack was sentenced in accordance with sentencing guidelines in 2005, according to the court documents.
Ingram said she also wasn’t surprised to hear that Flack was located in Emporia because that’s where his mother now resides.
Flack should have received a stiffer sentence in her brother’s shooting, Ingram said.
“If the Franklin County court system and the district attorney’s office would have done their jobs right in the first place, he would still be in jail where he belongs,” Ingram said. “He got five years for trying to murder my brother — that’s one year for each bullet he put in him. And he didn’t even serve the full time. That’s not right. Steve got a raw deal.”
Court documents indicated Flack was to pay more than $70,000 in restitution to Steven Free for medical bills and other expenses related to the shooting, but Ingram said her brother only collected about $300 of that money.
“[Flack] didn’t even pay back enough restitution to cover Steve’s funeral [costs],” she said. “And now that Steve is dead, Flack is off the hook for paying any more of it.”
Ingram said she fears that Flack would not hesitate to kill again if provoked.
“They need to lock him up and not let him out,” she said.