Kansas to increase sentences for some murders

Jail Bars

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is doubling the presumed prison sentence for premeditated first-degree murder to life with no chance of parole for at least 50 years.

Gov. Sam Brownback announced Wednesday that he signed a bill this week to make the so-called “Hard 50″ the presumed sentence for premeditated first-degree murder. The provision will apply to killings committed after June.

The new law will allow judges to decide whether a more lenient sentence than the “Hard 50″ is warranted in first-degree murder cases.

Currently, prosecutors can seek a “Hard 50″ sentence, but it can only be imposed by juries after weighing factors presented during a trial.

The new law also sets a minimum 25-year prison sentence for defendants convicted of attempted capital murder or committing murder during another felony.

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