Sarah McLinn, who murdered Lawrence pizza shop owner in 2014, back in court

Notorious Douglas County convict Sarah B. Gonzales McLinn was back in Douglas County District Court in person Wednesday afternoon — for about five minutes.

McLinn, now 23, is 2 1/2 years into her prison time for murdering Lawrence pizza franchise owner Harold Sasko, 52, in 2014. At the time, McLinn was 19, had gotten a job at Sasko’s Lawrence Cici’s Pizza restaurant and then moved in with Sasko at his Lawrence house. The violent and bizarre murder case and ensuing trial attracted national media attention.

McLinn was driven from the Kansas Department of Corrections’ Topeka Correctional Facility to Douglas County for Wednesday’s hearing. The hearing’s purpose was, upon order by the Kansas Supreme Court, to correct an illegal sentence imposed on McLinn.

Douglas County Judge Paula Martin did so in about two breaths.

Instead of McLinn being subject to lifetime post-release supervision, the record should reflect that she is subject to lifetime parole upon her release from prison, Martin said.

McLinn, who appeared in prison clothing with her long, dark hair loose, stood with her attorney, Carl Cornwell. When Martin asked whether she understood the change, McLinn answered quietly, “Yes, ma’am.”

It will be a long time before the adjustment matters. McLinn is serving a “Hard 50” — 50 years in prison with no possibility of early parole — and won’t get out until she’s nearly 70. She appealed her case, but in January of this year, the Kansas Supreme Court upheld her first-degree murder conviction and Hard 50 sentence.

— I’m the Journal-World’s public safety reporter. Reach me by email at or by phone at 785-832-7187. I’m also on Twitter, @saramarieshep.


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