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19 Year Sentence For 2003 Salina Stabbing

Todd Pittenger - June 1, 2015 3:45 pm

A Kanopolis man found guilty earlier this spring in a retrial of a case involving a 2003 fatal stabbing at a Salina bar was sentenced Monday afternoon. Judge Renee Young sentenced 53-year-old Douglas Aldrich to 228 months, or 19 years, in prison.

It was the maximum the judge could impose under Kansas sentencing guidelines. She also sentenced Aldrich to pay nearly $5,000 is restitution and fees.

The case stems from the the death of Jerry Bird, who was stabbed in the heart at the Red Kitten Bar in Salina, on February 8th, 2003. Bird died six days later, on February 14th,

Back on April 9th of this year, jurors found Aldrich guilty of voluntary manslaughter. It was the second trial for Aldrich, who initially was found guilty of second degree murder. He was in prison, serving a 51 1/2 year sentence, when he was granted a retrial by a judge in 2012 after successfully arguing he had not had an effective attorney during the murder trial.

The stabbing happened after Aldrich had been drinking for several hours with a small group of people inside the Red Kitten. Bird, who was not an employee, had previously physically removed Aldrich from the bar following altercations involving Aldrich and several other people. The stabbing happened when Aldrich returned to the bar to retrieve a pair of sunglasses, and Bird was removing him again.

The Kansas Attorney General’s Office handled the prosecution in the retrial, which lasted nearly two weeks.

Prior to the sentencing Aldrich’s attorney unsuccessfully argued, citing several reasons and cases, that he should be released based on the time he has already served. Aldrich has been incarcerated for about 12.5 years.

Dee Bird spoke for the victim’s family prior to sentencing. She told Aldrich “you know, and we know, that you willfully and intentionally stabbed Jerry in the heart.” She told him he took a father away from his children, and also took an uncle, a brother and a son from his loved ones. She concluded “don’t forget your sunglasses, it’s hotter than hell where you are going to end up.”

Aldrich also spoke.  He tearfully apologized to the family, saying he was “truly and deeply sorry.” Aldrich explained that he has turned his life around while incarcerated. He said that he has embraced Christianity, reads the bible daily, attends church regularly, and plays the drums in a christian band.  He said that he graduated a faith-based program, and has received a teaching certification.  “I agonize over this. I  have a conscience and a heart. I think about what I did daily, and ask for God’s forgiveness daily,” Aldrich said.

The new sentence cuts off about about 32.5 years from Aldrich’s original sentence. He will probably be eligible for parole when he is about 60-years-old.


Fred Hanson

June 2, 2015 at 7:49 am

The numbers do not match up. He served 12 1/2 years and received a sentence of 19 years. That leaves him the most of 6 1/2 left. This means he would complete his full sentence by the time he is 58 1/2 years old. With time off for good behavior he could be released sooner.

Lynne Butler-Brandt

June 4, 2015 at 2:52 pm

It is too bad that he will be able to see the light of day and breath the fresh air again in his lifetime. I will never forget how hard I worked to help save his life. That is a day I will never forget. Rest in peace, Mr. Bird.

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