A Hutchinson couple who were each scheduled Thursday for do-overs on preliminary hearings in Ellis County District Court instead pleaded guilty to amended complaints.
The hearings had been rescheduled from May after the judge halted the alleged victim’s testimony to order he undergo a drug test.
Hollie Marie Hunter pleaded to and was found guilty of a charge of aiding and abetting her husband, David Scott Hunter, in the commission of robbery with a recommended sentence of probation in exchange for testifying against him.
The charge was amended from aiding and abetting aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon.
She also pleaded guilty to a felony charge of possession of methamphetamine.
Charges of aiding and abetting in the commission of kidnapping and aiding and abetting aggravated assault with a deadly weapon were dismissed.
Upon hearing his wife would testify against him, David Hunter also agreed to a plea, Ellis County Attorney Tom Drees said Thursday.
He pleaded to and was found guilty of an amended charge of attempted aggravated robbery — armed with a deadly weapon. The deadly weapon inclusion carries a special sentencing provision that will require registration as an offender with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation for 15 years.
He also pleaded guilty to a felony charge of possession of methamphetamine.
Charges of kidnapping, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and interference with a law enforcement officer were dropped.
Recommended sentencing for Hollie Hunter is for a departure from state guidelines to three years of probation with Community Corrections with an underlying consecutive prison sentences of 41 months for the aiding and abetting charge and 11 months for the possession charge.
The recommended sentencing for David Hunter is 130 months in prison for the attempted aggravated robbery charge and a concurrent sentence of 11 months for the possession charge.
David Hunter is also on probation for a Reno County case that has an underlying prison sentence of 21 months. The Ellis County sentence will run consecutive to the Reno County sentence, meaning he could serve more than 12 years in prison.
Reno County also has a pending charge of felony theft against David Hunter.
The Hunters were accused of robbing a 26-year-old Hays man of cash, cellphones and other items after David Hunter allegedly threatened the man with a hatchet while they gave him a ride to his girlfriend’s house. He told police they drove outside of town and ordered him out of the vehicle and he had to walk back to town.
However, while on the stand during separate preliminary hearings for the couple in May, the victim was unable to specify details, such as how far outside of town they drove and the size of the hatchet he said David Hunter threatened him with.
Under questioning from David Hunter’s defense attorney, Colton Eikenberry, the man admitted he would probably test positive for marijuana and meth. At that point, Magistrate Judge Richard Flax called a recess and ordered the man to undergo a urinary analysis, which tested positive for substance use.