Archive for Friday, March 27, 2009

Life terms given in 2005 store slaying

March 27, 2009

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Two men were sentenced Thursday to life terms for the Nov. 11, 2005, murder of an employee at the Dollar General Store in Bonner Springs.

Wyandotte County District Judge John J. McNally sentenced Robert Haberlein to life in prison with no chance of parole for 50 years for first-degree murder, and to consecutive sentences of 253 months for aggravated kidnapping and 59 months for aggravated robbery.

McNally later sentenced John Backus to life in prison with no chance of parole for 50 years for first-degree murder, and to consecutive sentences of 586 months for aggravated kidnapping and 59 months for aggravated robbery.

The two were convicted in the slaying of Robin Bell, a Tonganoxie woman who managed the store. Bell, 44, was found dead in the store Nov. 12, 2005.

“This murder was committed in an especially heinous, atrocious and cruel manner,” McNally said. “This is the most brutal case I’ve seen since becoming a judge 14 years ago.”

A third person was with Haberlein and Backus the night of the robbery and murder. Amber Russell, 18, of Lenexa, who was 15 at the time of the slaying, has a deal with the Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Office that she will be tried as a minor — in exchange for her truthful testimony at trials for Haberlein and Backus.

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