Apr 10, 2024

Ellis County man pleads guilty in wife's death

Posted Apr 10, 2024 5:08 PM

By Jonathan Zweygardt
Hays Post

A 66-year-old Ellis County man accused of beating his wife to death pleaded guilty Friday to three felony charges that are expected to put him behind bars for a decade or more.

Jay Schumacher / Ellis County photo
Jay Schumacher / Ellis County photo

Jay Naldo Schumacher was first charged with killing his wife Karen Schumacher in 2022.

According to court documents, Jay Schumacher was initially charged with murder in the first degree — mistreatment of a dependent adult, aggravated battery, domestic battery and mistreatment of a dependent adult.

Following more than two years of court proceedings, the Ellis County Attorney’s office and Schumacher reached a plea agreement on Friday following mediation.

According to the plea agreement, Schumacher agreed to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter, aggravated battery and mistreatment of a dependent adult.

The voluntary manslaughter plea, is an Alford plea. Under an Alford plea, the defendant does not have to admit to the criminal act and can maintain innocence. It also allows the state to reach an agreement on the length of a prison sentence that may not have coincided with the actual charge.

Under the agreement both parties agreed Schumacher would serve a minimum sentence of 114 months, or nine years and six months in prison for counts one and two; voluntary manslaughter and aggravated battery.

The full length of the sentence will be determined by the judge at sentencing later this year.

The state wants the 34-month sentence for the final charge, mistreatment of a dependent adult, to run consecutively with the 114-month sentence. Under Kansas sentencing guidelines, the sentence would be capped at 142 months.

The defendant is going to argue the 34-month sentence for mistreatment of a dependent adult, to run concurrently with the first two charges for a total of 114 months in prison.

Schumacher’s attorneys are also requesting that he be placed in custody of the Larned State Correctional Facility instead of with the Kansas Department of Corrections.

Because of the defense’s request, Schumacher must undergo another examination to determine if he can be placed at the Larned facility. Schumacher was previously found competent to stand trial after an examination by a therapist at High Plains Mental Health Center.

The latest examination is expected to delay sentencing for several weeks.

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