A judge has appointed new attorneys to represent a man who is waiting to be resentenced for a 2008 murder in Leavenworth.

A judge has appointed new attorneys to represent a man who is waiting to be resentenced for a 2008 murder in Leavenworth.

Matthew Astorga, 42, appeared Monday in Leavenworth County District Court.

Astorga was convicted in 2009 of the first-degree murder of Ruben Rodriguez. The crime occurred Dec. 26, 2008, in Leavenworth.

A Hard 50 sentence previously was imposed in the case. This meant Astorga was required to serve at least 50 years in prison before he would have been eligible for parole.

However, Astorga has to be resentenced because the state’s old Hard 50 law was struck down following a U.S. Supreme Court decision.

In a 2013 decision in a case from Virginia, Alleyne v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that facts that increase mandatory minimum sentences should be submitted to a jury.

In Astorga’s case, a judge had determined that the Hard 50 sentence should be imposed.

Following the Alleyne v. United States decision, the U.S. Supreme Court remanded an appeal from Astorga to the Kansas Supreme Court for review. In 2014, the Kansas Supreme Court vacated Astorga’s Hard 50 sentence and remanded the case back to the district court level for resentencing.

Prosecutors are seeking to resentence Astorga under the state’s new Hard 50 law in which a jury will be convened for the sentencing.

In August, an attorney representing Astorga was allowed to withdraw from the case.

Several local attorneys have represented Astorga over the course of the case.

Senior Judge Gunnar Sundby said Monday he needed to find attorneys from outside the local bar association to appoint to the case. Sundby said he found two attorneys from Atchison County who are qualified to handle murder cases.

Sundby said he would appoint both John Kurth and Rex Lane to represent Astorga in the case. The two attorneys were not present during Monday’s hearing.

Sundby scheduled the next hearing for Oct. 29. The judge said a date for the sentencing trial may be set at that time.

Astorga also is a defendant in another case that is pending.

In the other case, Astorga is charged with battery on a county corrections officer. This crime is alleged to have occurred July 15, 2014, at the Leavenworth County Jail.

A trial in this case is scheduled for Nov. 6. And a status hearing is scheduled for Oct. 29.

Astorga remains in custody at the Leavenworth County Jail while his cases are pending.

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