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Kansas Attorney General and state Senate Vice President say penalties for attempted capital murder should be increased

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NEWS RELEASE ISSUED BY THE OFFICE OF KANSAS ATTORNEY GENERAL DEREK SCHMIDT

AG Schmidt and Sen. King: Boost penalties for attempted capital murder

TOPEKA – (January 8, 2014) – The penalty for attempted capital murder should be increased, Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Senate Vice President Jeff King said today.

Schmidt and King said they will propose legislation when the legislature reconvenes next week to raise the penalty for attempted capital murder to a “Hard 25” life sentence. Under current law, the penalty depends on a defendant’s criminal history but can be a little as 147 months.

“Under Kansas law, the only penalties for capital murder are life in prison without parole or the death penalty,” Schmidt said. “It makes little sense that a person who tries but fails to commit capital murder could be out of prison in as little as 12 years.”

King said, “Twelve years in prison is not enough for those who try, but fail, to commit capital murder. A Hard 25 sentence is the least the Legislature can do to protect Kansans from these heinous criminals.”

Examples of intentional and premeditated murders that qualify as capital murder are the killing of a law enforcement officer, the killing of more than one person, contract killing or the killing of a victim during commission of kidnapping for ransom or a serious sex offense. Schmidt said the sentencing disparity between completed capital murder and attempted capital murder came to his attention in reviewing cases involving the attempted killing of law enforcement officers.

King, who also chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the committee would conduct a hearing on the proposal during the first week of the legislative session.

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