OTTAWA, Kan. – A jury recommended a death sentence Thursday for a man who fatally shot three adults and an 18-month-old girl on an eastern Kansas farm in 2013, and then hid the adult bodies and stuffed the girl's remains in a suitcase that was later found in a creek.
Kyle Flack, 30, was sentenced by the same Franklin County jury that convicted him on March 23 of capital murder in the deaths of Kaylie Bailey, 21, and her 18-month-old daughter, Lana. He also was convicted of premeditated first-degree murder for killing 31-year-old Steven White and second-degree murder for killing Andrew Stout, 30.
Kansas, which has 10 men on death row, has not executed anyone since it reinstated capital punishment in 1994.
Prosecutors have said it's unclear what led to the shootings.
Investigators believe White was killed around April 20, 2013, and his body was later found under a tarp in an outbuilding near the farmhouse. Stout, 30, apparently was shot April 29 and his body was found in his bedroom under a pile of clothes. Bailey's partially-clothed body was found in a bedroom, with her hands bound behind her back. Authorities believe she and her daughter were killed on May 1.
The adults' bodies were found about a week later and search crews found the child's body in a suitcase floating in the Tequa Creek the next week.
Flack's lead defense attorney, Timothy Frieden, urged the jury during the sentencing phase to recommend a life sentence without parole, saying Flack was not the "monster" they had heard about, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported. Testimony during the sentencing phase indicated Flack grew up in a chaotic home with several family members who suffered from mental illness, was sexually abused as a child, and suffered from depression, social anxiety and schizoaffective disorder.
Frieden said Flack functioned well while in prison for a 2005 shooting, and if sentenced to life in this case, the public would be safe.
"He is salvageable," Frieden said. "Vote life when it comes down to the end."
Deputy Attorney General Victor Braden said during the sentencing phase that jurors had to decide what justice entails.
"Each of you will have to ask yourself what is appropriate justice?" Braden said.
He said the death penalty was justified by three aggravating circumstances, including a conviction for attempted second-degree murder in the May 2, 2005, shooting of Steve Free; the fact that Flack killed more than one person and the killings of Kaylie and her daughter were done in an "especially heinous, atrocious or cruel manner."
Prosecutors presented two weeks of testimony during the trial. The defense called no witnesses.