Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt today filed a motion indicating he will seek a “Hard 50” prison sentence in the prosecution of William Andrew Shank, 25, Garden City. Shank is charged in Thomas County District Court in connection with the February 9, 2013, death of 27-year-old Teri L. Morris in Colby.
Shank is charged with first-degree murder, aggravated arson and aggravated burglary.
Schmidt is requesting that if a jury finds the defendant guilty of premeditated first-degree murder, then the Court conduct a separate sentencing proceeding to determine whether the defendant shall be required to serve a mandatory term of imprisonment of 50 years before first eligibility for parole. A modification to the state’s Hard 50 statute, approved earlier this year by a special session of the Kansas legislature, provides for this sentencing proceeding when aggravating circumstances exist. Schmidt is also asking for an upward departure in sentencing if the defendant is convicted of a lesser offense than first-degree premeditated murder.
Shank is scheduled for a jury trial on March 24, 2014.