- Associated Press - Monday, November 23, 2015

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - A Eudora man accused of strangling his disabled home-care client to death in September 2014 has been sentenced to more than 16 years in prison.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports (https://bit.ly/1SVdlmX ) that 49-year-old Ronald Eugene Heskett was accused of asphyxiating 65-year-old Vance Moulton of Lawrence by twisting a towel around his neck. Heskett was originally charged with first-degree murder, but jurors found him guilty of the lesser second-degree murder charge.

Heskett has said since Sept. 22, 2014 that the killing of Moulton, who had cerebral palsy, was an assisted suicide. He claimed that Moulton had been persistently asking Heskett to kill for six months to a year.

Prosecutors pointed to $13,000 in cash from government refunds that were missing from the victim’s home as Heskett’s financial motive for killing Moulton.

Heskett says the money was used as part of a plan with Moulton to “flip” a car and sell and sell it for $25,000.

Douglas County District Judge Peggy Kittel sentenced Heskett to 195 months in prison on Friday, although his attorney, Michael Warner, had asked the judge to sentence Heskett to less time than what state guidelines suggested for a defendant with his criminal history.

Heskett was previously convicted of felony criminal damage to property and misdemeanor trespassing in 1986.

Heskett has one year and 10 days of timer-served credit, and is eligible for 15 percent good time credit, which means he may be released 30 months early for good behavior.

The judge said after handing down the sentence that it would be of little comfort to Moulton’s family and friends.

“People will leave here likely feeling as bad as they did when they arrived,” Kittel said.


Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, https://www.ljworld.com

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