A date has been set for a court proceeding that will determine the sentence for a man who was convicted of a 2008 murder in Leavenworth.

A date has been set for a court proceeding that will determine the sentence for a man who was convicted of a 2008 murder in Leavenworth.

Matthew Astorga, 41, is waiting to be resentenced for the 1st-degree murder charge.

The sentencing proceeding, which will require a jury, is scheduled for Feb. 25 in Leavenworth County District Court.

Astorga was convicted of the murder charge for the Dec. 26, 2008, shooting death of Ruben Rodriguez.

Astorga was convicted following a trial in 2009 and received what is known as a Hard 50 sentence. This means he received a life sentence without possibility of parole for at least 50 years.

But he now has to be re-sentenced because the state’s old Hard 50 law was struck down by a U.S. Supreme Court decision.

Under a new law, a jury will have to decide whether Astorga should once again receive the Hard 50 sentence.

The date for the new sentencing proceeding, which attorneys refer to as a trial, was set Friday as Astorga appeared in court with his attorney, KiAnn Caprice.

Caprice said she anticipates that the trial will take no more than two days.

The defense attorney said she needed some time to prepare for the trial. She intends to call a couple of witnesses who are from other states. One of them is in custody.

Caprice said she also plans to obtain out-of-state records.

Caprice said she also wants to interview a psychologist regarding the effects of solitary confinement.

District Judge Michael Gibbens scheduled a pretrial conference for Dec. 21. He asked that pretrial motions be filed by Dec. 7.

Astorga remains in custody at the Leavenworth County Jail.

Caprice said Friday that she is concerned her client’s mental health is declining. She believes solitary confinement may be playing a role.

She said Astorga has been in solitary confinement without incident.

“I’ve been in solitary confinement for nine years,” Astorga said.

Astorga has not spent all of this time in the county jail. He became an inmate of the Kansas Department of Corrections after he was sentenced the first time. But he eventually was returned to the Leavenworth County Jail after the case was remanded to District Court for resentencing.

Caprice said her client also has expressed concern about the medication he is receiving at the Leavenworth County Jail as well as issues with his mail.

“Mr. Astorga, I’m only handling the criminal case,” Gibbens said.

The judge said the Leavenworth County Sheriff’s Office is in charge of security at the jail. Gibbens said he does not have the power to interfere unless a civil case is filed.

If such a civil case is filed, it likely will be assigned to Gibbens.

“I’m handling that docket right now anyway,” he said.

Caprice said she plans to meet with her client Tuesday and will help him prepare a petition for a civil case.

Gibbens said he will appoint legal counsel to represent Astorga in the civil case once it is on file.

Caprice said she also planned to meet with the sheriff.

Astorga also is awaiting trial in another case. He is charged with battery on a county corrections officer. This crime is alleged to have occurred July 15, 2014.

Astorga is accused of spitting in the face of an officer at the jail.

This case is scheduled to go to trial Jan. 14 in Leavenworth County District Court.

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