Archive for Friday, February 11, 2005

Reward almost raised for help in murder case

Mother of KU student killed abroad can’t disburse money until appeals are heard

February 11, 2005

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The mother of a Kansas University student murdered in Costa Rica nearly four years ago has managed to raise most of the reward money she promised to pay witnesses who helped convict her daughter's killers.

"We needed at least $20,000, we're raised right at $13,000," Jeanette Stauffer said. "The family will come up with the rest."

Stauffer's daughter, Shannon Martin, 23, was attacked after leaving a nightclub in Golfito, Costa Rica. Her attackers, Luis Alberto Castro Carrillo and Kattia Cruz, are each serving 30-year sentences for their roles in Martin's death.

Stauffer said Monday that she has not been able to get the reward money to the witnesses because Castro and Cruz have appealed their sentences.

"At this point, our attorney says we shouldn't do anything to make it look like we bought people's testimony," Stauffer said.

Castro and Cruz's appeal will be heard in April.

"It's very frustrating," Stauffer said. "The people who are entitled to the reward are upset because they want to get out of Golfito -- it's so corrupt there -- but they can't get out until they get the reward. They truly believe their lives are in danger."

Stauffer has said she and her husband, Brad Stauffer, have spent more than $100,000 pursuing their daughter's killers.

The Stauffers are "doing the prudent thing," said Larry Thomas, a KBI special agent who has helped the family gather evidence and locate witnesses. "They're acting on their attorney's advice. But I'm sure that, eventually, those who deserve to be rewarded will be."

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