Court upholds Hugoton verdict

1/24/2014

TOPEKA (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court has upheld the first-degree murder conviction of a southwest Kansas man in the August 2009 stabbing death of his mother.

TOPEKA (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court has upheld the first-degree murder conviction of a southwest Kansas man in the August 2009 stabbing death of his mother.

In a unanimous decision Friday, the court rejected arguments that Michael Maestas Jr., of Hugoton, received an unfair trial because of the prosecutor's comments in closing arguments in Stevens County District Court.

The high court concluded the prosecutor did mischaracterize testimony from Maestas' sister but said the incorrect statement was not intentional. Justice Dan Biles also wrote that the evidence against Maestas was overwhelming.

Maestas was arrested after calling 911 to report he had stabbed his mother, Lorenza, in their Hugoton home.

The Supreme Court also rejected arguments that Maestas should have been confined to a state mental hospital rather than sentenced to prison.

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