Emotions ran high in a Sedgwick County courtroom moments before a Haysville man learned that he would spend the rest of his life in prison.
Two months earlier, prosecutors say Hassan Wright, 47, kidnapped his niece and her two young daughters, raped and sodomized her and then stabbed all three during a brutal attack that lasted about 12 hours.
Of his niece’s daughters, the 4-year-old got away. Her mother and sister had screamed for her to run during the attack.
But the 6-year-old didn’t make it. She died Nov. 4.
Cornell Dilworth, a relative, held up a program from the child’s funeral in court Friday, shaking with anger as Wright looked on in silence.
“You took away from us a sweet, innocent and bright little girl. And I don’t know what gave you the right,” Dilworth seethed, as he urged District Judge Terry Pullman to impose the maximum punishment for Wright’s 17 convictions. They include first-degree premeditated murder, attempted first-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery and attempted aggravated arson.
“You took that from us! You took that from us!” Dilworth said, voice raising to a shout. “And you know what? You don’t even deserve to breathe the same air as the rest of us!”
When it was time for the mother of the 6-year-old to speak, she called Wright “a waste of a human being. A waste of a life. A menace to society.” The Eagle is not naming her or her daughters to protect her identity because she was sexually assaulted during the attack.
“While everyone else is still living and enjoying their lives, you get to spend the rest of your life in prison,” she said. “Behind bars. I’ll take that.”
Pullman ultimately followed Wright’s plea agreement and ordered him to spend a total of life in prison with parole eligibility after 50 years. The sentence will run consecutively to a life prison term Wright is already serving for murdering a teen outside a Kansas City barbecue restaurant in 1988.
Wright was on parole for that case when he attacked his niece and great-nieces on Nov. 3 and 4 in a rural area of Sedgwick County, near Goddard, after going to their home and asking for a ride. Prosecutors say he complained that someone in his niece’s family owed him $9,000 and carried out a robbery and assault on her and her daughters in retaliation.
He also poured cooking oil on his niece and the 6-year-old and tried to light them on fire.
In an e-mail after Friday’s sentencing hearing, Sedgwick County’s Chief Public Defender Mark Rudy said Wright “understands that he can’t outlive his sentence, and will die alone” in prison. Wright, he said, had accepted responsibility by pleading no contest in the case a week after he was charged and “recognizes the pain the surviving victims, their family and friends are enduring.”
“He’ll spend the rest of his days in prison. He’ll never get out,” Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett said in statements outside the courtroom after Pullman handed down the sentence.
“This is what we agreed to, and we’re very satisfied” with the result, he said.