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Conviction upheld in 2008 killing

The conviction of Keaira Brown was upheld by the Kansas Supreme Court today.

Brown was 13 at the time that Scott Sappington Jr. was killed in 2008.

She appealed her convictions on felony murder and attempted aggravated robbery, arguing that she should not have been tried as an adult.

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court said the Wyandotte County District Court was justified in trying her as an adult based on factors set out in state law, including the seriousness of the offenses and the violent nature of the killing.

The evidence showed Sappington, who was 16 when he was killed, suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the head from point-blank range in an apparent attempt to steal his car. Brown, who testified at the trial, admitted being at the crime scene but claimed Sappington had already been shot when she discovered him in his car.

The Kansas Supreme Court held her 20-year minimum life prison term could be constitutionally applied to a person younger than 18. The Kansas Supreme Court noted recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions dealing with life without parole and death sentences imposed on minors were not applicable to Brown’s sentence.

The decision is online at http://www.kscourts.org/Cases-and-Opinions/opinions/SupCt/2014/20140815/106111.pdf.

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