by Alan McArthur
After hearing testimony since Monday, a judge took less than 30 minutes on Friday afternoon to return a verdict of guilty on all counts for Jacob McGinnis, 27, Kansas City, of first degree murder, forcible rape, two counts of armed criminal action, and one count of burglary in the first degree.
The charges stem from the death of Steven J. Sandoval, 32, of Platte City and the raping of Sandoval's wife.
McGinnis now faces life in prison without the possibility of parole. He is scheduled for sentencing on Dec. 6.
On Sept. 9 and 10, 2005, McGinnis shot Steven J. Sandoval, of Platte City, three times in the back with a shotgun and then raped Sandoval’s wife, with the couple’s young son in the next room. Sandoval and McGinnis were described as friends. The shooting took place on a deserted outer road east of I-29 near Bethel Ave., just south of Platte City.
When the judge read the verdict, sobbing broke out on both sides of the courtroom and McGinnis showed no visible reaction at the front.
In a statement to a social worker about a year before the crime, McGinnis was talking about his previous thoughts of murder and rape and said, “I’m not crazy, I’m just evil.”
The mother of the murder victim spoke after the verdict was announced.
“There is no such thing as closure,” said Mary Sandoval. “My son is still gone and I still miss him. Anyone who says there’s closure is totally wrong. If I could have my son back, then there would be closure. We got justice today.”
Defense attorney William Fickle said he was disappointed in the conclusion and felt the defendant was schizophrenic.
“We’re disappointed in the verdict,” said Fickle. “We feel (McGinnis) was mentally incompetent at the time. I know Judge (Abe) Shafer and I’m sure he read all the reports and was very careful.”
Prosecuting attorneys were Eric Zahnd, Mark Gibson, and Amy Ashelford. Defense attorneys were Fickle and Charlie Dickman.
See much more on this story, including photos from the courtroom, in next week's print version of The Landmark.