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Testimony: Woman kicked to death might have survived with medical attention

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, July 10, 2013, at 3:15 p.m.
  • Updated Friday, March 7, 2014, at 11:46 p.m.


Amber Kostner suffered significant head injuries when she was repeatedly kicked in the head by her boyfriend, but she might have survived had she received immediate medical attention, a medical examiner told a Sedgwick County jury on Wednesday.

Scott Kipper, a deputy Sedgwick County coroner, said Kostner suffered at least six blows to the front of the face, one of which was forceful enough to tear her scalp from her skull. She also suffered a broken cheekbone and broken rib in the attack, he said.

Kipper was the last witness in the first-degree murder trial of Anson Bernhardt, 42, who is charged with kicking Kostner, 38, to death on Sept. 30 after the two had argued about breaking up. Prosecutors said Kostner was still alive when Bernhardt left her at the side of the road across from Campus High School in the 2100 block of West 55th Street South.

The state rested its case after Kipper’s testimony, and the defense put on no evidence. The case will go to the jury on Thursday after lawyers present closing arguments.

Defense lawyer Steve Osburn said in his opening statement that there was no evidence that his client acted with premeditation. Prosecutors argued that the premeditation could have occurred after Bernhardt started kicking Kostner, and that it was present when Bernhardt left her at the side of the road to die.

Jurors on Tuesday saw a videotaped statement that Bernhardt gave to detectives in which he admitted that he kicked Kostner 20 to 30 times after dragging her out of a car near their home in west Wichita.

The trial is being held in the courtroom of District Judge William Woolley.

Reach Hurst Laviana at 316-268-6499 or hlaviana@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @hlaviana.

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