A man has been sentenced to more than 18 years for the 2011 shooting deaths of two brothers in Leavenworth.
Aundray D. McDonald, 37, was sentenced Friday in Leavenworth County District Court for two counts of voluntary manslaughter and one count of criminal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
The charges stemmed from a Dec. 16, 2011, incident that resulted in the deaths of Derrick and Marshall Jones. The brothers were shot in a parking lot outside of a barbershop at Broadway and Metropolitan Avenue. They were driven from the scene by a friend, but the car crashed in a park at Spruce and Seventh streets. Derrick, 25, was pronounced dead at the crash scene. Marshall, 28, died at a hospital.
District Judge Gunnar Sundby followed the recommendations of a plea agreement Friday by imposing a 221-month sentence.
Family members of the victims had asked for a lengthier sentence. One of the family members screamed after hearing the judge was following the plea agreement, and she had to leave the courtroom.
Several members of the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office were in the courtroom Friday in case there were problems during the sentencing. Sheriff Andy Dedeke, who was in the courtroom, said officials knew it was an emotionally charged event for the victims' family.
McDonald had been charged with premeditated first-degree murder and first-degree felony murder for the deaths of the Jones brothers. The charges were amended last month as part of the plea agreement, and he pleaded guilty to the amended charges. Also as part of the plea agreement, a charge of criminal discharge of a firearm at an occupied vehicle was dismissed. And an unrelated drug case against McDonald was dismissed.
McDonald's guilty plea to the voluntary manslaughter charges means, according to the law, he had an honest but unreasonable belief the use of deadly force was justified the night of the shootings.
"We have two young men that were killed in this case," Assistant County Attorney Michael Jones said during Friday's sentencing hearing.
The prosecutor noted that McDonald would be going to prison, leaving behind family. But he said the mother of the victims also is suffering.
Four family members of the victims spoke during the sentencing hearing including Mary Jones, mother of the two brothers.
She said McDonald should be sentenced to nothing less than 40 years in prison. She said McDonald's family will be able to visit him in prison. But her family only will be able to visit her sons in a cemetery.
Christina Jones, the victims' sister, said her family had not agreed to the sentence recommended in the plea agreement.
"Not one day goes by that I don't think about my brothers," she said.
Page 2 of 2 - McDonald's attorney, Carl Cornwell, said he was not surprised by the comments of the victims' family, which he said were heartfelt.
"You could obviously tell they are suffering," he said.
Cornwell said on behalf of the McDonald family "we are saddened."
The attorney said his client had wanted to resolve the case without going to trial. He said there were a lot of facts to support a self defense claim on the part of his client.
"There were a lot of facts that supported this plea," he said.
Cornwell noted that in addition to 221 months for the Leavenworth case, McDonald is having to serve time for a Johnson County case.
In the Johnson County case, McDonald is serving a sentence for attempted aggravated battery after his probation was revoked. The earliest he can complete that sentence is Nov. 25, 2014, according to a Kansas Department of Corrections website.
McDonald was given the opportunity to speak during Friday's sentencing hearing. He said he didn't go to the barbershop with the intent to harm anyone.
McDonald said he was sorry for the victims' family.
He also said he was ready for the case to be over.
Sundby said what happened were horrific events.
The judge said because of state sentencing guidelines, he was limited in what he could do. He said could impose a longer sentence if he felt the prosecution had acted in bad faith, but he doesn't believe this to be the case.
The 221-month sentence will run consecutive to the sentence McDonald is serving for the Johnson County case.
County Attorney Todd Thompson said prosecution officials had spent a considerable amount of time going over the Leavenworth County case with the family of the victims.
"There is never going to be any happiness in a case like that," he said, speaking after the sentencing.