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Former Ness City man sentenced to life in prison

Special to The Hays Daily News

A former Ness City man was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday for rape and aggravated criminal sodomy under Jessica's Law.

Ness County District Judge Bruce T. Gatterman sentenced Benito Cardenas Jr., 37, to life without the possibility of parole for 25 years on the two charges. The sentences will run concurrently, according to the Kansas Attorney General's office.

The crimes happened in Ness City in September 2010. Cardenas was living in Dodge City when he was arrested in April 2011. The victim was a 7-year-old girl, putting the crimes under Jessica's law.

The state also filed charges against Cardenas for aggravated escape from custody and felony theft, which happened following his conviction in August. Cardenas allegedly used toothpaste to hide cuts he was making in bars in his Ness County jail cell, which he had been filing for some time.

He was able to bend the bars, squeeze through and leave the jail while it was being monitored remotely, according to the Associated Press.

His next court appearance in the escape case is set for 11 a.m. Dec. 11.