Motion for appeal bond denied in murder case

John Richmeier
Barbara Frantz

A Leavenworth County District Court judge has denied a request for an appeal bond for a woman who was convicted of murdering her estranged husband.

District Judge Gerald Kuckelman said he believes the case of Barbara M. Frantz is no longer in his jurisdiction.

“I think that is up to the appellate court,” Kuckelman said.

Frantz was convicted in 2018 of first-degree murder.

The crime occurred in 2017. Frantz was convicted of shooting her estranged husband, Gary, in a parking lot in downtown Leavenworth.

Frantz was sentenced in July to life in prison. She will have to serve 25 years of the sentence before she is eligible for parole.

Kuckelman held a hearing Monday to take up motions Frantz had filed on her own behalf in Leavenworth County District Court.

Frantz, who is an inmate at the Topeka Correctional Facility, participated in the hearing through the Zoom online videoconferencing service.

Zoom is being used for many proceedings in Leavenworth County District Court because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In one of her motions, Frantz requested that she be released on her own recognizance for an appeal bond and placed under house arrest.

Assistant County Attorney Meredith Mazza asked that an appeal bond be denied.

“She is not even eligible for parole for 25 years,” Mazza said of Frantz.

Because Frantz is appealing her conviction, Kuckelman questioned whether he has the authority to grant an appeal bond in the case. The judge said he believes the case is now in the jurisdiction of the Kansas Court of Appeals.

Mazza said the law requires that Frantz file a motion for an appeal bond with the appellate court.

Frantz also requested a summary judgment for a motion in which she argues she received ineffective assistance from the attorneys who represented her during her trial.

Kuckelman said a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel ordinarily is filed after an appeal has been decided.

Frantz argued the matters can be handled simultaneously. She cited a case in support of this argument.

Kuckelman said he is unfamiliar with this case.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen it happen,” he said.

Mazza said a separate civil case has been filed in Leavenworth County District Court in which Frantz argues she received ineffective assistance of counsel.

“I’ll take a look at that case,” Kuckelman said.

The judge noted he is new to matters involving Frantz. Kuckelman took over the criminal docket in Leavenworth County during the summer following the retirement of another judge.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR