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State v. Horn

Supreme Court of Kansas

June 19, 2015

STATE OF KANSAS, Appellee,
v.
CURTIS T. HORN, Appellant

Appeal from Wyandotte District Court; ROBERT P. BURNS, judge.

SYLLABUS

BY THE COURT

1. It is generally within a sentencing judge's discretion to determine whether a sentence should run concurrent with or consecutive to another sentence.

2. Judicial discretion may be abused in three ways: (a) if no reasonable person would have taken the view adopted by the trial court; (b) if the judicial action is based on an error of law; or (c) if the judicial action is based on an error of fact.

Joanna Labastida, of Kansas Appellate Defender Office, was on the brief for appellant.

Jennifer S. Tatum, assistant district attorney, Jerome A. Gorman, district attorney, and Derek Schmidt, attorney general, were on the brief for appellee.

OPINION

Page 550

BILES, J.:

Curtis T. Horn pleaded guilty to two counts of felony murder and received consecutive life sentences. He directly appeals the consecutive nature of the sentences. We affirm because Horn has not demonstrated that the district court abused its discretion by imposing consecutive life sentences. Factual and Procedural Background

Horn pleaded guilty to two counts of felony murder based on the February 2, 2013, deaths of his girlfriend, Brandi Johnson, and Johnson's 2-year-old niece, Amiyah McClenton. At the plea hearing, Horn admitted he intentionally set fire to an apartment, killing Johnson and McClenton.

For its factual basis supporting the plea, the State summarized that Horn and Johnson argued and then Horn hit and strangled Johnson until he believed she stopped breathing. McClenton came out of her room and witnessed this. The State then explained:

" [T]he child was a verbal child, she knew who [Horn] was, she could speak. At that point, [Horn] then led the child back into her bedroom [and] shut the door. He then set a fire out in the living room and then left the apartment, did not call the police, but called his father to pick him up and basically walked away from the scene. That fire consumed the apartment and it killed both [Johnson] and [McClenton]."

Horn's counsel clarified that, according to Horn's statement, Horn intentionally set the fire in the room Johnson was in but he did not ...


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