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Archive for Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Kansas Supreme Court to hear appeal of man convicted of beating girlfriend to death

April 10, 2012

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The Kansas Supreme Court on Thursday will hear the appeal of Christopher Belone, who was sentenced to nearly 49 years in prison for killing his girlfriend by beating her with a coffee table leg.

In his appeal, Belone requests a new trial, contending there were numerous errors during his 2007 trial before then-District Court Judge Jack Murphy.

Christopher Belone

Christopher Belone

Belone was sentenced to 586 months in prison after being convicted of second-degree murder, kidnapping and other charges in the death of Linda Begay, 37.

According to police testimony, on July 29, 2006, Belone found Begay in another man’s trailer at the Gaslight Village mobile home park, 1900 W. 31st St. Belone dragged Begay out of bed and struck her with his fists and a table leg, Begay told police.

Begay died three days later, after an infection developed from a hole in her small bowel that was caused by blunt trauma to the abdomen, officials said.

Belone’s defense attorney is arguing before the state Supreme Court that the jury was never allowed to determine whether any negligence by the hospital rose to the level contributing to Begay’s death.

At Lawrence Memorial Hospital, Begay underwent a CT scan and X-ray, and a surgeon was called in for consultation, according to court records. But the decision was made not to operate. When Begay’s condition worsened, she was transferred to Stormont-Vail Hospital in Topeka, where she died.

Belone’s defense also argues that the district court failed to instruct jury members that they could find Belone guilty of the lesser offenses of reckless second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter or manslaughter. The jury could have found that Belone acted recklessly but not with intent to kill, Belone’s defense attorney said.

In addition, the court did not appropriately instruct the jury on how to consider prior acts of domestic violence by Belone, according to Belone’s appeal.

In a legal brief submitted by the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office, prosecutors deny there were errors in the trial, and say even if there were, statements from Begay before she died and other witnesses, and scientific evidence linking Belone to Begay’s blood supported the conviction.

“Even if this court were to determine that there was error, the evidence against appellant is overwhelming,” the legal brief states.

Comments

cjeter 2 years, 8 months ago

you beat your girlfriend with a table leg, how much does it really matter if there was any contrived negligence by a doctor trying to save her?! Go on your way now...

Matthew Herbert 2 years, 8 months ago

wow. Just wow. Don't dare take any personal responsibility. I realize that everyone is entitled to a lawyer in their defense, but honestly what scumbag lawyer takes on this case? The man is not arguing his innocence. He admits to beating her to death. Instead, he is arguing that after he beat her to death, the hospital should have saved her life and therefore it's their fault she's dead. Seriously? An attorney who takes that case ought to be run out of town.

ebyrdstarr 2 years, 8 months ago

So someone who actually practices the principles our Constitution preaches, that ALL people are entitled to due process of law (meaning fair trials with proper evidence and jury instructions), is scum who should be run out of town?

Matthew Herbert 2 years, 8 months ago

he HAD a fair trial, with an attorney. The 'scum' element exists at the point at which the lawyer takes on an APPEAL based around the notion that because the hospital should have saved her life, it suddenly becomes involuntary manslaughter. At the point at which you ADMIT to dragging someone out of their house AND you ADMIT to beating them with a table leg, any notion of "involuntary" becomes absurd.

ebyrdstarr 2 years, 8 months ago

The question for an appeal is whether the defendant got a fair trial. It does not make one "scum" to question whether the jury was properly instructed on causation (the Kansas Supreme Court has previously held that in situations like this, the jury does need to be instructed on causation) such that the jury could properly weigh which level of homicide is the correct one.

Also I'd bet that there's a big issue about the victim's statements coming in since she died and thus the defendant never got to confront her in court.

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