Archive for Wednesday, May 16, 2001

Judge rejects former Basehor mayor’s request for new trial

May 16, 2001

A Leavenworth County District Court judge on Friday denied a request for a new trial for John Pfannenstiel, former mayor of Basehor.

But Pfannentiel's attorney said he would appeal that ruling.

In March, Pfannenstiel was convicted of three counts of having illegal sex with inmates at Lansing Correctional Facility, where he worked as a guard.

Judge Frederick Stewart on Friday ruled against Pfannenstiel's request for a new trial. Pfannenstiel's attorney had argued that Charles Opie Jones Jr., a prosecution witness, had perjured himself as he testified against Pfannenstiel. The attorney, Terry Lober, called a forensic document examiner as a witness.

Richard Fahy, who owns REF Forensic Consultants of Overland Park, said he believes Jones signed a four-page document, in which he recanted his claims that he and two other inmates had repeated sexual contract with Pfannenstiel. Lober said Jones signed the document, which Lober wrote during a visit with Jones in jail.

During the trial, Lober asked Jones if he had signed the document, and Jones said he had not.

On Friday, the attorney said that if the jury had been allowed to see the document, they would not have convicted Pfannenstiel.

Stewart, who also was the trial judge, had said during the trial that the document could be introduced as evidence if Lober took the stand to testify that Jones had signed the document.

Lober decided not to testify.

Roger Marrs, deputy county attorney, said Lober should have testified if he wanted the document admitted into evidence.

"He chose not to do so, after given an opportunity by the court," Marrs said. "Mr. Lober could have testified and gotten all that information in front of the jury. The defense is not entitled to a new trial because they're dissatisfied with the outcome."

The judge said that because he had given Lober the opportunity to testify and Lober did not take that opportunity he did not see a reason for a new trial.

Sentencing is set for 9 a.m. June 8.

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