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Archive for Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Belone guilty in beating death

March 21, 2007

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Lawrence man found guilty for death of girlfriend

Justice for the victim and relief tonight for prosecutors as a jury finds a Lawrence man guilty on all counts in the beating death of his longtime girlfriend. Enlarge video

A Douglas County jury on Tuesday convicted a Lawrence man of second-degree murder and three other charges in the beating death of his girlfriend last summer.

Christopher Belone, 36, was found guilty of the most severe murder charge he faced for striking Linda Begay, 37, in the stomach with a coffee table leg on July 29 at the Gaslight Village mobile home park, 1900 W. 31st St. Begay died days later in the hospital from an abdominal infection resulting from blunt trauma.

"(When the verdict was read) I just thought of Linda actually, to tell you the truth. Justice was definitely done," said Trent Krug, a Douglas County assistant district attorney.

Jurors deliberated nearly six hours Tuesday after they heard closing arguments in the seven-day trial.

Prosecutors said Belone went to the trailer of Frank Mallonee and beat Begay in a fit of jealousy when he found her drunk and passed out in a bedroom that afternoon.

Defense attorney Greg Robinson told jurors that investigators focused too heavily on Belone and made errors in ignoring evidence that included Mallonee having motive to harm Begay because she resisted his sexual advances.

Belone testified in his own defense Monday. He said he found Begay in Mallonee's trailer, and that she attacked him when he tried to take her home. He said she was hit in the nose during the scuffle but that he never struck or stabbed her in the stomach.

Robinson said he was disappointed with the verdict and the severity of the conviction because prosecutors contended Belone's action was committed in a jealous rage.

"I would have thought that manslaughter would have been the max they'd have come back with," Robinson said.

Robinson also said he would take time to determine whether he would appeal the convictions.

Belone and his family members showed little emotion when the verdict was read. Some of Begay's family members had attended the trial earlier, but they were not in the courtroom Tuesday.

Krug said despite Robinson's criticism of police throughout the trial, an audio recording of a police interview with Begay conducted at the hospital hours after the attack was the most crucial piece of evidence. She identified Belone as her attacker, and Krug said she consistently and accurately described the situation, which complemented other evidence.

"We'll be forever grateful to (Lawrence police officer) Anthony Brixius for doing that," said Eve Kemple, another assistant district attorney who helped prosecute the case.

Presiding juror Mary Garcia said jurors had other evidence to consider that conflicted with Belone's testimony.

"The most convincing evidence was the photos of Linda. They spoke volumes," she said.

Prosecutors also hailed it as a victory for domestic violence victims.

"We are not going to accept domestic violence," said Kemple, who primarily handles domestic violence cases. "This is hopefully a wake-up call for other victims. We are pleased the jury took it very seriously."

Begay and Belone, who have a young son, had a violent history together, but Judge Jack Murphy allowed jurors to hear only evidence related to the July 29 event.

"Christopher Belone thought he could get away with just one more beating of Linda. This time he killed her," Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson said.

Murphy will sentence Belone at 4 p.m. May 14. Prosecutors think he will face 48 years in prison. He also was convicted of kidnapping, violating a protective order and obstructing the police investigation because he gave them a false name, birthday and Social Security number before being arrested.

Comments

geekin_topekan 7 years, 9 months ago

Well.. there it is. I am interested,morbidly so I admit,how many hissy fits he's going to throw in his new home?Throw his tyranny and the "B" word around and let's see what happens.But revenge is not my strong suit so I will quit with that.

I can still see Lin walking toward me from down the street.That goofy smile and glasses were what gave her away even from down the block.You could feel the happiness of her smile.She was free to be Linda today.Those times were few and far between.

Instead of "corrections" we have "prevention".In other words,a lengthy term would save another woman from years of tyranny,beatings and a lower quality of life.Let him spread those in his new home.Another woman's life will be saved out here in the meantime.We may never directly see or know the impact but if you believe in God,he has been at work.

Rest in peace Lin. My friend. And know that your goofiness and laugh touched lives.

1977 7 years, 9 months ago

HOW???? When this story first was printed I remember there was talk about restraining orders being broken and a history of domestic violence. I think the bigger story here is what is the law enforcement's policy for the county and city and why. In other Kansas counties the offender is arrested if he/she violates the order. Additionally, there are some places where an accumulation of protection order violations can equate to a stiffer sentence. What and why do the local laws encompassing domestic violence exist? These are the questions we should ask. What kind of a relationship does law enforcement have with our local domestic violence organization? From my understanding the relationship doesn't exist. I am glad Belone is facing, hopefully, a stiff punishment. I feel sad that another person lost their lives to domestic violence, but I think questions need to be asked on a larger scale.

horsenaroun 7 years, 9 months ago

I am so relieved Mr. C Belone will be facing the MAX of sentencing.

I miss Linda. I never got to see her again. When I see her older daughter.. she looks just like her mother.. It's quite comforting.

Linda was awesome, I feel so bad that she had to go through this. Hopefully Belone will get what he deserves. No woman needs to be treated like that.. no one.. it is so inhumane.

The worst of all, I feel for the children that were left behind, and the one that had to witness this. God bless them...

Yes, true.. atleast another woman is being saved from Mr. Belone.. one more can make a difference.

Domestic Violence is something that needs to be out in the open.. Women take heed from this.. learn from this.. DO something to help yourself!!! I beg of you..

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