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Sedgwick County "Hard 50" sentencing delayed

Published on -8/16/2013, 9:03 AM

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WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- Sentencing is delayed in Sedgwick County for a man convicted of stomping his girlfriend to death.

The delay in the sentencing for 42-year-old Anson Bernhardt is intended so officials can determine if the state's "Hard 50" sentencing law can be applied.

Prosecutors are seeking the "Hard 50" sentence -- 50 years without parole -- for Bernhardt, who was convicted of first-degree murder in the September death of his girlfriend, 38-year-old Amber Kostner.

The Wichita Eagle reports (http://bit.ly/14RuFTa ) lawyers want to determine how the case is affected by a U.S. Supreme Court decision raising questions about the constitutionality of the "Hard 50." The ruling said juries, not judges, must make findings that increase a mandatory minimum sentence.

Kansas law requires a judge to decide whether to impose the "Hard 50" sentence.

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