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Archive for Thursday, March 27, 2014

Attorney: Sarah McLinn ‘has never denied’ killing former boss Harold Sasko; May preliminary hearing set

March 27, 2014

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Sarah B. Gonzales McLinn

Sarah B. Gonzales McLinn

Harold Sasko

Harold Sasko

More coverage: Harold Sasko homicide
  • Feb. 3, 2014: Prosecution seeking ‘Hard 50’ for Lawrence murder suspect McLinn
  • Feb. 3, 2014: Murder suspect’s attorney: McLinn has ‘mental problems’
  • Feb. 3, 2014: News conference regarding 19-year-old murder suspect scheduled for 2:15 p.m.
  • Jan. 31, 2014: McLinn in Douglas County custody, awaiting Monday court date
  • Jan. 29, 2014: Homicide suspect McLinn turned over to state authorities; extradition hearing likely to be waived
  • Jan. 29, 2014: Report: Murder suspect, 19, had knives, guns, hash, ax in victim’s car
  • Jan. 29, 2014: Homicide suspect McLinn turned over to state authorities; extradition hearing likely to be waived
  • Jan. 29, 2014: Homicide suspect Sarah McLinn was in small Texas town on Jan. 15, officers say
  • Jan. 28, 2014: Teen’s attorney in Lawrence murder case advises her to waive extradition hearing in Florida
  • Jan. 27, 2014: Murder suspect, 19, could be extradited to Lawrence this week
  • Jan. 27, 2014: Lawrence homicide: 19-year-old charged with first-degree murder
  • Jan. 27, 2014: Authorities schedule 1 p.m. news conference to discuss significant developments in Lawrence homicide investigation
  • Jan. 26, 2014: Missing 19-year-old found alive in Florida with homicide victim’s car
  • Jan. 26, 2014: Mother of missing Lawrence 19-year-old issues statement: ‘Sarah is a victim’
  • Jan. 25, 2014: Updates scarce as family, friends await information about missing 19-year-old, week-old homicide investigation
  • Jan. 24, 2014: Information still sought in Southwest Lawrence homicide investigation, 19-year-old’s disappearance
  • Jan. 23, 2014: Police continue search for missing 19-year-old; funeral services handled for family of homicide victim
  • Jan. 22, 2014: Silence, prayer center stage at service in Topeka for missing 19-year-old Sarah McLinn
  • Jan. 22, 2014: Family and friends of missing 19-year-old woman to gather for prayer service
  • Jan. 21, 2014: Family of missing 19-year-old woman who lived with homicide victim hopeful that she will call
  • Jan. 20, 2014: Former employees recall Sasko as kind, generous
  • Jan. 20, 2014: Police waited nearly 18 hours to announce homicide, missing woman
  • Jan. 19, 2014: Lawrence police ID man found dead in home, search for missing woman
  • Jan. 19, 2014: Lawrence police ID 52-year-old victim of Friday homicide; woman still missing
  • From the moment Lawrence police contacted her after she was found in Florida, Sarah B. Gonzales McLinn has never denied killing Harold Sasko, the 52-year-old Lawrence businessman found dead at his home in January, her attorney says.

    McLinn, 19, appeared with her attorney, Carl Cornwell, in Douglas County District Court, where a preliminary hearing was set for May 16 despite Cornwell’s desire to waive the hearing.

    McLinn is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Sasko, who was found dead Jan. 17 after police went to the home the two shared in the 2900 block of West 26th Street after McLinn was reported missing by family.

    Cornwell wanted to waive a preliminary hearing in the case, at which witnesses would testify and evidence would be presented, but the prosecution, led by District Attorney Charles Branson, wanted to move forward with it. Branson announced last month that the state will seek a Hard 50 sentence if McLinn is convicted of first-degree murder. Branson described the crime as “cruel, heinous and atrocious.” If convicted, McLinn could serve 50 years in prison without the possibility of parole.

    “I know what happened. … It’s obvious what’s going to happen: Everybody’s going to know she committed the crime,” Cornwell said of the preliminary hearing.

    McLinn stood silently in court on Thursday, smiling at family members but otherwise remaining still. She has been in Douglas County Jail on a $1 million bond since being extradited from Florida on Feb. 3.

    Speaking after Thursday’s hearing, Cornwell said McLinn told investigators after she was found sleeping inside his 2008 Nissan Altima at Everglades National Park in Florida that she had killed Sasko. “She has never denied that,” Cornwell said.

    The challenge, Cornwell said, has been coming to grips with why.

    “This one is particularly sad,” Cornwell said, “and not because Mr. Sasko’s dead — that’s a given. That’s horrible. He’s not going to be able to see his daughter or his family. That is horrible. But what got my client to that day and why she did what she did I am having trouble wrapping my brain around it.”

    Cornwell said that “there will be some interesting things about Mr. Sasko” revealed during the preliminary hearing, but he would not elaborate. He also anticipated that more information would be unveiled as to why McLinn took the path she took after Sasko’s death, which involved a confirmed stop in a small Texas town and ended in her capture in Florida. Sasko owned three CiCi’s Pizza restaurants between Topeka and Lawrence. McLinn is accused of subduing and killing Sasko with an “edged instrument” on or around Jan. 14, and she is also charged with felony theft of his car. A former employee of Sasko’s, McLinn had been living with him since 2012.

    “Well, when you have a 52-year-old man and a 19-year-old girl that will start you off with problems,” Cornwell said. “And then how the crime was committed, my client’s mental makeup, what’s going on at the crime scene — there’s just a lot of interesting issues.”

    Comments

    Andrew Stahmer 9 months ago

    It was an 'abusive relationship' AND she's bipolar...that'd be my best guess....

    Adam Kasson 9 months ago

    There's got to be more to this story than whats been reported. everything I heard is this guy was the nicest guy in the world and would do anything for anybody...well is he and is this really the case. Behind close doors in people's lives things aren't what people know about. I think everyone is going to hear a lot of stuff come out that could be pretty surprising. We all know you don't kill for love and that you kill somebody out of hate or something terrible that they have done to you. Also this girl probly obviously isn't mentally right and needs to be mentally evaluated as her motive still hasn't been announced. So far she seems like a pretty violent person and needs to be locked up for a long time. This wasn't a deal it seems that she killed this dude out of self defense as she used a sharp object to do so. And when they found her in Fl she had drugs and all types of weapons on her. That is not a normal person and not looking good for her being she went on the run with all that stuff.

    Adam Kasson 9 months ago

    There's got to be more to this story than whats been reported. everything I heard is this guy was the nicest guy in the world and would do anything for anybody...well is he and is this really the case. Behind close doors in people's lives things aren't what people know about. I think everyone is going to hear a lot of stuff come out that could be pretty surprising. We all know you don't kill for love and that you kill somebody out of hate or something terrible that they have done to you. Also this girl probly obviously isn't mentally right and needs to be mentally evaluated as her motive still hasn't been announced. So far she seems like a pretty violent person and needs to be locked up for a long time. This wasn't a deal it seems that she killed this dude out of self defense as she used a sharp object to do so. And when they found her in Fl she had drugs and all types of weapons on her. That is not a normal person and not looking good for her being she went on the run with all that stuff.

    Bob Forer 9 months ago

    I don't quite understand the defense attorney's strategy, nor do I see how his commentary helps her defense.

    Mike Edson 9 months ago

    It is probably best to hold any speculation until after the trial. No information will be released that could compromise the prosecution or defense.

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