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Man convicted of kidnapping state judge sentenced to life in prison for terrorism

Release Date: Sep 15, 2017

GARDEN CITY – (September 15, 2017) – A man accused of forcing himself at gunpoint into a state judge's home and holding the judge hostage for several hours while making demands of other state officials has been sentenced to life in prison for terrorism, Attorney General Derek Schmidt said.

In July, a Finney County jury found Jason Linn Nichols, 34, of Garden City, guilty of one count of terrorism, one count of kidnapping, one count of aggravated burglary, two counts of aggravated assault, one count of criminal threat and one count of criminal restraint. The jury also found Nichols not guilty of a second count of terrorism. Senior Judge Jack Burr today sentenced Nichols to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 20 years. Nichols will serve his sentence in the Kansas Department of Corrections.

Schmidt filed criminal charges in June 2016 in connection with the incident that occurred May 31, 2016, in Garden City. Evidence presented at trial showed that while Nichols held the judge in his Garden City home he demanded a phone call be placed to the Kansas secretary of revenue. During that call, Nichols demanded the Department of Revenue provide to Nichols various types of information related to state taxes. 

Kansas law defines terrorism to include the commission of a felony with the intent to influence government policy by intimidation or coercion or with the intent to affect the operation of any unit of government.

The charges stemmed from an investigation by the Garden City Police Department, Finney County Sheriff’s Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Kansas Highway Patrol, Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Dodge City Police Department. Assistant Attorney General Jessica Domme of Schmidt’s office prosecuted the case.

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