A Reno County judge has ordered Charles Christopher Logsdon to spend life in prison for the murder last year of 27-year-old Hutchinson resident Jennifer Heckel.
The sentence today from District Judge Trish Rose includes a “hard-50” sentence requested by District Attorney Keith Schroeder for first-degree murder, plus 23 consecutive years for conspiracy to commit murder, aggravated burglary, criminal possession of a firearm and aggravated intimidation of a witness.
That means a “73-year absolute sentence for this defendant,” Judge Rose said after listening to tearful statements from Heckel's parents, Marc and Carol Timmermeyer, and her sister, Barbara Wyss. The family requested the maximum sentence for Heckel's killer.
Logsdon, however, wasn't in the courtroom to hear what Heckel's family had to say. As Schroeder was requesting a “hard-50” sentence, Logsdon started yelling he was “completely innocent” of the crimes.
“I gotta go,” Logsdon said. “I didn't do this If you want to give me 500 years, give me 500 years.”
He continued with profanities, prompting Reno County Sheriff's deputies to escort him out. A woman seated in the gallery also was escorted out after she started yelling, “Chris, I love you! I know you didn't do this!” and scuffled with officers.
Judge Rose acknowledged she had ordered Logsdon to appear for sentencing after he indicated he did not want to appear. She said his actions today waived his right to appear during sentencing and proceeded with the hearing.
“It takes a man to sit at sentencing and face the victims,” Schroeder said, adding that Logsdon was “incapable” of doing so.
The judge said she granted the prosecution's request for a hard-50 sentence due to three factors, including the fact the crime was committed in an “especially heinous manner.”
“(Heckel) was at home with her child when she was shot repeatedly, and the child either observed it or heard what happened,” Judge Rose said.
Logsdon either enlisted others or conspired with others to aid him in the murder, and the murder was done for monetary gain or some sort of gain, Rose said of the other two factors contributing to the “hard-50” sentence.
After a 14-day trial, Reno County jurors on Nov. 9 found Logsdon guilty of murdering Heckel. Prosecutors described the killing as a case of mistaken identity, alleging Logsdon, 50-year-old Billy Joe Craig Jr. and a third, unidentified man planned to rob and kill methamphetamine dealer Kayla Rodriguez but entered the wrong home on June 14, 2011, killing Heckel instead.
During Logsdon's trial, prosecutors argued he shot Heckel execution-style, and Craig is alleged to be the driver. Authorities believe the intruders entered through her open garage door and surprised her in her north Hutchinson home. Craig is still awaiting trial in the case, but the third suspect has not been charged.
Heckel's husband was working out of town when she was killed. She suffered gunshot wounds to her head and back, with another bullet grazing her side. Her 5-year-old son testified during Logsdon's trial that he was in another room watching the Disney Channel when his mother was shot, and he ran next door to alert neighbors.
“He heard his mother scream and he heard the shots, and she stopped screaming,” Schroeder said.
Stay with Hutchnews.com for more on this story, or read Saturday's edition of The Hutchinson News. For extensive case coverage, go to Hutchnews.com/heckel.
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