Frantz sentenced to life in prison

John Richmeier
Barbara M. Frantz

A woman has been sentenced to life in prison for the 2017 murder of her estranged husband in Leavenworth.

Barbara M. Frantz will have to serve 25 years in prison before she is eligible for parole.

Frantz, 54, Kansas City, Kansas, was sentenced Tuesday in Leavenworth County District Court for first-degree murder.

She was charged after her estranged husband, Gary, was shot Jan. 27, 2017, in a parking lot in downtown Leavenworth.

She was convicted of the murder charge in 2018.

Before District Judge Michael Gibbens sentenced Frantz, he took up a motion filed by her attorney that requested a continuance.

Defense attorney Greg Robinson said he was at a disadvantage because he was appointed to represent Frantz only about 3.5 weeks ago.

“This case has been going on for a number of years,” he said.

He said there are issues in the case that need to be looked at including evidence indicating a sibling of Frantz may have confessed to the murder.

Assistant County Attorney Shawn Boyd noted this evidence had been available to attorneys who previously represented Frantz.

“At no point in time did they bring it up to the court,” Boyd said.

He said the evidence concerns emails from a sibling of the defendant who indicated he committed the crime but later recanted, saying he was trying to cover for Frantz.

Robinson said he did not know why the evidence had not been brought to the court’s attention much earlier.

The person who reportedly wrote the emails was in the courtroom Tuesday and Robinson called him to testify.

However, the witness said he was exercising his Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination and did not testify.

Gibbens said he was denying the motion for a continuance. But he said the ruling does not preclude other procedural remedies from being available to Frantz.

Donna Meyer, sister of the victim, spoke during the sentencing hearing.

Meyer said Frantz took Gary away from his family.

“She took away a son, a father, a brother,” Meyer said.

Meyer said Gary was known to his family by the name of Pat.

Boyd acknowledged the case against Frantz was not perfect. But he said the evidence against Frantz was “very, very solid.”

He said the evidence included statements Gary made to a police officer and other witnesses that identified Frantz as the person who shot him.

“At no point in time, has she taken any responsibility for her actions,” he said.

Boyd noted that during her trial, Frantz blamed the murder on her son.

“She deserves to spend the rest of her life in prison,” Boyd said.

Robinson asked the judge to consider giving his client a lighter sentence. Robinson asked Gibbens to consider Frantz’s lack of prior criminal history.

The defense attorney also asked Gibbens to consider Frantz’s age and medical conditions that she previously has brought to the judge’s attention.

When given the opportunity to speak, Frantz argued there is a large amount of evidence pointing to a man as the shooter.

Frantz said she believes her husband had been asking for his wife instead of saying she had shot him. She argued that her husband had identified his son as the shooter.

“I am not guilty your honor,” she said.

Frantz also accused the Leavenworth Police Department and the County Attorney’s Office of misconduct in the case. She alleged they hid and changed evidence.

She also accused her previous attorneys of doing a bad job.

“I should not have to pay for my past attorneys’ failures,” she said.

When imposing a life sentence, Gibbens said he took into consideration Frantz’s health issues. But he also took into consideration the fact that a jury found Frantz guilty and that jurors determined the crime was premeditated.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR