Man found guilty of stabbing pregnant ex-girlfriend sentenced to probation
LEAVENWORTH COUNTY, Kan. – Richard Bennett avoided conviction for attempted murder but was found guilty of aggravated battery and criminal threat after a jury concluded he stabbed his ex-girlfriend, Lachelle Kemp, who was pregnant with their child at the time. Bennett was sentenced to 16 months of probation on Friday, nine for the aggravated battery and seven for the criminal threat, according to the Leavenworth County Attorney’s Office.
A news release indicated that a judge was bound by Kansas’ sentencing guidelines that left probation as the only option for Bennett’s sentence. Judge Gunnar Sundby ruled that because of the severity level of his convictions and Bennett’s criminal score designated as an “I”, which means his record previously contained one misdemeanor or less, he will receive probation.
His conviction for aggravated battery under Kansas Statutes is a level 8, person felony according to Leavenworth County Attorney Todd Thompson. The conviction for criminal threat is a level 9, person felony. By definition, the higher the number, the less severe the crime in the state’s eyes. Using this grid, Bennett faced up to 18 months probation for aggravated battery and up to 12 months probation for the criminal threat and ultimately received 16 collective months.
Kemp was stabbed by Bennett at Woody’s gas station in Leavenworth on June 18. At Bennett’s trial in November, doctors testified that Kemp was stabbed in the head, back and had a half-inch gash on the upper portion of her stomach. Her injuries were characterized as minor wounds and Bennett’s attorney said he was acting in self-defense.
Kemp was unable to testify during Bennett’s trial after she crashed her vehicle into a utility pole and was electrocuted in October. The jury was able to hear previous testimony that she had given at a preliminary hearing, but Thompson said her presence during the trial could have played a role in convicting Bennett for attempted murder.
“There’s probably always a benefit to be able to having a witness testify, for both sides, the defense and the prosecution so the jury can hear how the person reacts to questions. How they answer, their body language,” Thompson previously told FOX 4.
Kemp is survived by a three-year-old son and her infant daughter fathered by Bennett. They are being cared for her by Kemp’s mother, Lea.