A jury returned a guilty verdict late Thursday afternoon in a case involving a 2003 fatal stabbing at a Salina bar. Jurors found 52-year-old Douglas Aldrich of Kanoplis 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 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 Februray 14th,
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.
Saline County Attorney Ellen Mitchell tells KSAL News that under Kansas sentencing guidelines, a voluntary manslaughter conviction calls for 55-247 months in prison, depending on criminal history. At his prior sentencing hearing Aldrich was found to be criminal history B. If that remains so, the sentencing range is 206-228. He was previously convicted of intentional second degree murder, and his sentence was 618 months.
Aldrich, who has been incarcerated since he was arrested in February of 2003, is scheduled to be sentenced on April 24th.