Boston Boswell, 20, was found guilty of first-degree, premeditated murder in the shooting death of Shantel Rose Winkler, 27, of Howell, that occurred in March 2018.
Boswell entered a plea of no contest on Monday in Ford County District Court in front of District Judge Laura H. Lewis, according to Ford County Attorney Kevin Salzman.
"Mr. Boswell had been charged with first-degree, premeditated murder since this case first started," Salzman said. "Under the terms of the plea agreement, the surviving family members of Ms. Winkler will be able to present statements to the court at sentencing.
"Mr. Boswell will also be permitted to make a statement and/or present mitigating evidence at sentencing. The state will remain silent and make no sentencing recommendations to the court."
According to Salzman, a misdemeanor case and another felony case against Boswell were both dismissed.
"The misdemeanor case grew out of the murder case, and the alleged victim and victim’s family in the felony case preferred an out-of-court resolution to the matter," Salzman said. "The felony case was not related to the murder case."
Premeditated murder in the first degree is punishable by a life sentence, and a person convicted of this offense must generally serve 50 years before being eligible for parole in Kansas.
However, according to Salzman, the law does give sentencing judges discretion to lower that time limit to 25 years before parole eligibility in certain cases.
The incident that led to Winkler's death took place on March 3, 2018, when deputies with the Ford County Sheriff’s Office were sent to Howell Country Feeders, west of Dodge City.
At that location, Boswell showed up for work and confessed to other employees that he had killed a woman the night before.
"Based on the information provided by Boswell, law enforcement officers located the body of Winkler in a room at the Super 8 hotel in Dodge City," Salzman said. "She had been shot once with a handgun in the head and was deceased at the time law enforcement discovered her body.
"Boswell was arrested and later interviewed by law enforcement, where he confessed to having shot Winkler sometime near the overnight hours between March 2 and March 3, 2018.
"The gun used to shoot Winkler was found among Boswell’s possessions at his residence."
A plea of no contest signifies that "the defendant does not explicitly admit to committing the crime but does acknowledge that there is sufficient evidence whereby a jury could find him or her guilty of the crime at trial."
Typically, a court receiving a no contest plea will find the defendant guilty of the offense as long as the court is satisfied that there are enough facts available to support the charge.
A jury trial was scheduled for Aug. 26 but was canceled after Boswell entered his plea.
Salzman, along with Assistant Ford County Attorney Ricardo Leal, prosecuted the case, with Johnson City-based attorney Clint Floyd representing Boswell.
Boswell will remain in the custody of the Ford County Sheriff's Office until sentencing.
Sentencing will be set at a later date.
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