DNA evidence from 2007 rape case to be tested

John Richmeier
Kevin D. Skaggs

An attorney is arranging for DNA testing on behalf of his client, who was convicted of rape in 2007 in Leavenworth.

A status hearing was conducted Thursday in a case involving Kevin D. Skaggs.

Skaggs, 42, was convicted in 2007 in Leavenworth County District Court of three counts of rape, one count of aggravated criminal sodomy, two counts of sexual exploitation of a child and one count of promoting obscenity to minors.

The crimes reportedly occurred in 2004 and 2005 and stemmed from the sexual abuse of a child.

Skaggs was sentenced in 2008 to 310 months, or 25 years and 10 months, in prison. He remains in the custody of the Kansas Department of Corrections.

Skaggs maintains his innocence.

Late last year, a judge approved a request by Skaggs for new DNA testing of evidence from his case.

Skaggs’ attorney, David Miller, argued at the time that advances in DNA testing since the trial will allow new techniques to be used and lead to more accurate results.

The person who originally was going to perform the DNA testing has died.

Miller now plans to have a laboratory in Ohio perform the testing.

Miller and County Attorney Todd Thompson participated in Thursday’s status hearing through the online Zoom service.

Zoom, a videoconferencing service, is being used for many Leavenworth County District Court proceedings because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thursday’s hearing was presided over by District Judge Gerald Kuckelman, who recently took over the case after the retirement of another judge.

Miller said he needed to arrange to send an article of clothing with DNA evidence from the case to the lab in Ohio.

“Mr. Miller, just contact the Leavenworth Police Department,” Thompson said.

Kuckelman suggested scheduling a hearing to review the status of the testing in 60 days.

Miller said the testing could take longer than 60 days. He suggested allowing 120 days for the testing.

Kuckelman scheduled a review hearing for Dec. 17.

Skaggs currently is housed in minimum custody at the Lansing Correctional Facility. His earliest possible release date is May 2029, according to a Kansas Department of Corrections website.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR