Kan. Supreme Court to hear appeal in Hutchinson deadly arson case
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The Kansas Supreme Court on Tuesday (Oct. 27, 2020) will hear an appeal in the case of a Hutchinson man convicted of killing his mother and his sister by setting his family’s home on fire in September of 2013.
Investigators said Sam Vonachen, who was 14 at the time of the deadly arson, admitted to burning the house down. He was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted first-degree murder, and one count of aggravated arson. A jury found Vonachen guilty of the crime in 2017 and a judge sentenced him to life in prison.
Tuesday, the court is set to consider whether Vonachen’s constitutional rights were violated in the conviction and life sentence that followed and if errors by the prosecutor prevented him from having a fair trial.
Specifically, issues on appeal are whether Vonachen’s eighth and 14th Amendment rights were violated by Kansas' abolishment of the insanity defense and if the district court made an error in denying Vonachen’s motion to suppress his statements to police.
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