Dorsey pleads guilty to second-degree murder

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times
Anthony J. Dorsey

A man has pleaded guilty to a second-degree murder charge in connection to 2019 deadly pursuit in Leavenworth County.

Anthony J. Dorsey entered the plea Monday morning in Leavenworth County District Court, according to court records.

The murder charge stemmed from a Sept. 30, 2019, crash on Interstate 70 in southern Leavenworth County that resulted in the death of Nathan Pena of Brookfield, Illinois.

Dorsey, 31, was being pursued by a state trooper at the time of the crash.

The pursuit began in neighboring Wyandotte County. A trooper reportedly attempted to stop Dorsey for an expired tag from the state of Missouri.

After the pursuit had crossed into Leavenworth County, Dorsey reportedly made a U-turn on the interstate and began traveling east in the westbound lanes. His vehicle collided with a car driven by Pena, who died at the scene.

After the crash, Dorsey fled on foot but was apprehended.

According to a Kansas Department of Corrections website, Dorsey was considered to be a parole absconder at the time of the crash. He previously was convicted in Wyandotte and Johnson counties of charges of aggravated robbery and attempted aggravated robbery.

Dorsey was charged in Leavenworth County with first-degree murder in connection to the 2019 crash before he entered into a plea agreement Monday.

The plea came the same morning that jury selection was scheduled to begin for a trial in the case.

During a hearing Friday, attorneys reported to District Judge Gerald Kuckelman that plea offers from the prosecution had been declined by Dorsey. And the prosecution had declined a counter offer made by the defense.

During Friday's hearing, Kuckelman said he intended to go forward with the trial Monday.

County Attorney Todd Thompson said his office was contacted over the weekend by the defense regarding a possible plea agreement.

Thompson said his office reached out to family members of Pena, who consented to the plea agreement.

Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 17.

According to Thompson, Dorsey could be sentenced to up to 49 years in prison.

"Our continued thoughts and prayers go to the Pena family," Thompson said in a news release. "We did not take this plea without their permission."

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