Sentencing continued in attempted murder case
Sentencing has been continued for a man who pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of an employee at a halfway house in Leavenworth.
Cameron J. Walton appeared Monday in Leavenworth County District Court for what was scheduled to be his sentencing. But his attorney has objected to the criminal history score assigned to Walton in a presentencing report. And District Judge Gerald Kuckelman said he wanted to review cases cited in arguments made by attorneys before ruling on the defense objections.
Walton’s case has been continued to Oct. 23. Walton’s attorney, Clinton Lee, said the defendant could seek to withdraw his plea depending on how the judge rules on the criminal history score.
Walton, 38, pleaded guilty in December to a charge of attempted second-degree murder. The charge stemmed from a Dec. 13, 2016, incident at the Grossman Center in Leavenworth.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons contracts with Geo Reentry Services, which operates the Grossman Center as a reentry facility for inmates who are completing their sentences.
The attempted murder charge stemmed from an attack by Walton on an employee of the Grossman Center. The incident occurred on the day Walton was scheduled to be released from the center.
The wife of the victim spoke during Monday’s hearing.
She said the victim was in a coma for 10 days after the attack and his speech and memory have been affected.
“He’s facing a lifetime of disability,” she said.
The criminal history score assigned to Walton in the presentencing report could impact the length of his sentence.
As part of a plea agreement, Walton and prosecutors agreed to recommend a 12-year prison sentence. But Walton has expressed concern Kuckelman may not follow this recommendation. And Walton could face a longer sentence depending on his criminal history score.
“This court feels in no way bound by the terms of the plea agreement,” Kuckelman said.
Kuckelman took over the case after District Judge Michael Gibbens retired in July.
Kuckelman asked Monday how the parties settled on a recommendation for 12 years.
Lee, said the recommendation was the result of extensive negotiations.
Lee is objecting to how a prior conviction in the federal court system and two convictions in Missouri are being applied to Walton’s criminal history score.
Even though the judge was not moving forward with sentencing, Kuckelman agreed to allow the wife of the victim to speak in court Monday. She and her husband had traveled from southern Missouri to attend Monday’s hearing.
Kuckelman said he would like to proceed with sentencing Oct. 23 after ruling on the defense’s objections.
However, Lee said his client may want to review his options if the judge makes a ruling that is adverse to the defendant. Lee said this may include a motion to withdraw Walton’s plea.
Walton remains in custody at the Leavenworth County Jail as he awaits sentencing.