2016 News Releases

AG Derek Schmidt: State Supreme Court upholds conviction, death sentence in murder of PSU student

Release Date: Oct 21, 2016

TOPEKA – (October 21, 2016) – The Kansas Supreme Court today upheld the capital murder conviction and death sentence of Gary Kleypas in the 1996 murder of a Pittsburg State University student, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said.

“A third Kansas capital murder conviction and death sentence has now been upheld by our state courts,” Schmidt said. “I’m encouraged the State’s position that this case was properly tried and the defendant was properly convicted and sentenced under applicable law has been affirmed.”

The Kansas Supreme Court had previously overturned Kleypas’ death sentence in 2001 and ordered a new sentencing hearing. In 2008, a second jury recommended a death sentence in the case. While the Kansas Supreme Court today upheld the capital murder conviction and death sentence, it also reversed Kleypas’ conviction on a rape charge and returned the case to district court for resentencing on a conviction for aggravated burglary.

Kleypas becomes the third person in Kansas whose sentence of death has been upheld by the Kansas Supreme Court since the death penalty was reinstated. The Kansas Supreme Court upheld the conviction and death sentence of John E. Robinson Sr. last November. Robinson’s request for review by the U.S. Supreme Court was denied earlier this month. The Kansas Supreme Court also upheld the conviction and death sentence of Scott Cheever in July, more than two years after the Kansas court’s previous decision overturning Cheever’s conviction was reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Cheever’s attorneys are seeking U.S. Supreme Court review, but the high court has not said whether it will hear the case.

In a separate case decided today, the Kansas Supreme Court declined to disturb the capital murder conviction and death sentence of Douglas Belt, who died in prison earlier this year. Belt was convicted and sentenced in 2004 in connection with crimes in Sedgwick County.

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News releases issued prior to 2011 are available through an archive hosted by the Kansas State Library.