By JONATHAN ZWEYGARDT
It took jurors just two and a half hours Wednesday to find Kylie Jo Elizabeth Waldschmidt guilty for her role in the 2018 killing of 26-year-old Diego Gallaway in Hays.
Waldschmidt, 25, was charged with aiding and abetting felony murder after Gallaway was found shot to death on Feb. 27, 2018, in the area of 27th Street and Indian Trail in Hays.
Waldschmidt’s trial was delayed until this week due to the COVID-19 pandemic and, following three days of testimony and two and a half hours of jury deliberation, jurors delivered the guilty verdict Wednesday afternoon in Ellis County District Court.
The conviction carries a mandatory prison sentence of 25 years.
According to court documents, Waldschmidt and Ryan Paul Thompson, 36, obtained a gun and went to the 2700 block of Indian Trail to confront Gallaway about money.
During the confrontation, Thompson pulled out a gun, put Gallaway in a headlock and shot him in the back of the head, authorities said.
For his role in the murder, Thompson pleaded guilty, in November of last year, to intentional second-degree murder and drug possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine. He was sentenced to 23 years and 11-months in prison.
Alysha Meade, 30, the woman who investigators say gave Thompson the gun used in the murder, was sentenced 15 months in prison for felony drug possession last November. She has served her sentence and is on post-release supervision.
Waldschmidt’s sentencing is expected to be scheduled for December.
Ellis County Attorney Tom Drees said, “I thank the jurors for their attentiveness and dedication during this trial in which they were subject to COVID restrictions and modifications. I thank Chief Judge Glenn Braun, Court Administrator Amanda Truan and the entire court staff for their extraordinary efforts to provide a COVID approved courtroom and trial, pursuant to Kansas Supreme Court requirement.”
He added, “Hopefully this will bring some measure of comfort and closure to the Gallaway family.”
The Ellis County courtroom underwent several modifications to allow the trial to be held this week.
The trial is also the final jury trial for Ellis County Attorney Tom Drees after he was elected District Judge in the 23rd Judicial District. He will begin serving on the bench in January.