The Kansas Supreme Court has affirmed the convictions of a Salina man serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for 25 years in connection with the 2015 shooting death of a teenager.
According to the high court, in a decision written by Justice Eric Rosen, justices affirmed 23-year-old Stephen Gentry’s convictions in Saline County District Court for first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, criminal discharge of a firearm at an occupied vehicle, and conspiracy to commit aggravated battery.
Gentry was convicted for his role in the shooting death of 17-year-old Allie Saum back in May of 2015. During the trial it was revealed Gentry was the instigator in a plot to seek revenge, after being punched in a previous incident. He gathered a group of people together, ultimately misidentified a truck, and instructed another defendant to fire shots at it. Saum was a passenger in the truck, and was hit by one of five shots which were fired.
The court held a statutory error in failing to offer lesser included offense instructions on the two forms of reckless homicide was harmless. It also held there was no statutory error in failing to instruct the jury on lesser included offenses of voluntary manslaughter, attempted unintentional but reckless second-degree murder, attempted reckless involuntary manslaughter, and attempted voluntary manslaughter. The court affirmed the district court’s denial of Gentry’s motion for a continuance.
Finally, the court held the district court erred when it ordered Gentry to pay restitution to the Saline County Attorney’s Office for expenses related to witnesses and trial exhibits. It vacated that portion of the order.
According to Kansas Department of Corrections records, Gentry is currently being held at the El Dorado Correctional Facility. Since entering the prison system in July of 2016 he has been been written up over 30 times for disciplinary violations.