Archive for Thursday, December 21, 2006

Espinales sentenced to 12 years in prison for Baldwin murder

December 21, 2006

A judge on Tuesday sentenced a Gardner man to more than 12 years in prison for shooting and killing his brother-in-law early this year after an argument at a birthday party in Baldwin City.

District Court Judge Jack Murphy turned down a request for a lighter sentence for Hinndley K. Espinales, 25, and sentenced him to 155 months in prison for the March 4 shooting death of Alvin Sanchez.

"It's been a terrible tragedy for the family," Murphy said.

Before being sentenced, Espinales stood up in court and apologized to his family, including his stepsister Jamelia Young Sanchez, who was married to Alvin Sanchez.

"Alvin was not only my brother-in-law but was also my friend," Espinales said.

Jamelia Young Sanchez said that Espinales should be required to financially support her and her children.

"I feel like he's responsible for the hardship that me and my children are going through right now," she said. "I moved from a Johnson County neighborhood to a slum in Leavenworth County."

District Attorney Charles Branson said the financial-support issue could be taken up in a civil lawsuit, although the family may receive money in coming weeks through the state's Crime Victims' Compensation fund.

Espinales shot and killed Sanchez after a night of drinking at a birthday party for Espinales' father, Rufino, at Rufino Espinales' home at 109 Hillside Drive.

The Murder of Alvin Sanchez

He was initially charged with premeditated first-degree murder, which carries a sentence of 25 years to life, but was convicted at trial of the lesser charge of second-degree murder. He didn't deny shooting Sanchez, but his attorneys argued successfully that the killing was not premeditated.

Defense attorney Albert Freeman on Tuesday asked the judge to give Espinales less time in prison than the 147-month minimum set out in sentencing guidelines for second-degree murder. He said Espinales was remorseful and, prior to the shooting, had no criminal history and was a productive part-owner of a family painting business.

But Murphy said he couldn't find "substantial and compelling" reasons under Kansas law to break from sentencing guidelines.

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