Kansas man convicted of murder charge sentenced to life
A 38-year-old Kansas man facing a murder charge for the death of a 14-year-old cheerleader has been convicted and sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole. This is the mandatory minimum sentence for anyone convicted of a capital murder charge in Kansas.
At trial, prosecutors presented a great deal of circumstantial evidence. Witnesses stated the victim was last seen leaving her home on her way to a party. The prosecution presented evidence from text messages that the defendant had allegedly picked up the teenage girl that night. The victim and the defendant were already acquainted, having met at a party the previous month. Three days after the girl’s family reported to the police that she was missing, her burned body was found at the asphalt plant where the defendant was employed.
The court also sentenced the defendant to 17 months in prison for vehicle burglary and seven months for theft, to be served consecutively. That means that these sentences are meant to be served following the defendant’s life sentence, though by definition, the defendant would no longer be living after having served his primary sentence.
In any case involving the death of a child, emotions tend to run high. However, it is important to remember that in any criminal trial, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. It is up to the prosecution to make an argument to a judge or jury that demonstrates the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt — the highest burden of proof.