Sedgwick County to seek ‘Hard 50′ for murder

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WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Sedgwick County prosecutors will seek a “Hard 50″ prison sentence for a 42-year-old man convicted of stomping his girlfriend to death.

Anson Bernhardt is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday in the death of Amber Kostner. Prosecutors say Bernhardt kicked Kostner 20 to 30 times while wearing steel-toed boots.

The Wichita Eagle reports (http://bit.ly/1cWQ54P ) the Sedgwick County decision follows a U.S. Supreme Court decision in June that raised questions about the law’s constitutionality. The ruling said juries, not judges, must make findings that increase a mandatory minimum sentence.

Kansas law requires a judge to consider aggravating and mitigating factors before deciding whether to impose the “Hard 50″ sentence, which ensures a 50-year sentence without parole.

Kansas lawmakers, meanwhile, attend a special session next month to rewrite the state’s “Hard 50″ law.

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