Archive for Sunday, November 16, 2008

Guilty plea entered in K.C. slayings

Defendant avoids death penalty

November 16, 2008


— Wyandotte County prosecutors are now seeking a life sentence against a man who killed his pregnant ex-wife, her unborn child and the woman's 8-month-old daughter.

Andrew Anthony Guerrero avoided a possible death sentence by pleading guilty Friday to one count each of capital murder and felony murder.

Sentencing was set for Jan. 15.

Prosecutors say the 24-year-old Guerrero is the first person in Wyandotte County to be charged in an unborn child death.

The charge was filed under Alexa's Law, which makes killing or injuring an unborn child during an attack on the mother a crime.

The law, passed in 2007, is named after the unborn daughter of 14-year-old Chelsea Brooks, who was killed in Wichita in 2006.

Guerrero fatally shot his pregnant ex-wife, 23-year-old Nicolette Lyons-Reed, and her daughter, Leah, in their Kansas City, Kan., home in February.

Defense attorney John Duma said Guerrero agreed to plead guilty largely to avoid the death penalty.

"This is an incredibly distressing and sad story," Duma said. "Both families are absolutely devastated. There really is not a decent explanation as to why all this occurred."

District Attorney Jerome Gorman said the family of Lyons-Reed was ready for the case to end.

"They've had a very difficult time with all this," he said.

Guerrero was at the center of a nationwide manhunt after the killings for taking his and Lyons-Reed's 3-year-old son across state lines.

An Amber Alert was issued, and the two were found in Texas.

The boy, who was unharmed, was brought back to Kansas and placed in the temporary custody of his maternal grandparents.

Police have said the boy wasn't at the scene during the killings.


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