The Kansas Supreme Court on Friday rejected a Garden City man’s attempt to withdraw a guilty plea to first-degree premeditated murder in connection with the December 2008 killing of a 16-year-old Deerfield girl.
Joaquin DeAnda, 26, had claimed his guilty plea in 2011 was the result of ineffective counsel, his mental illness and his misunderstanding of the consequences of the plea.
DeAnda originally was charged with first-degree murder, rape and aggravated criminal sodomy in connection with the death of Julia Quintana. He pleaded guilty in 2011 to first-degree murder and the state agreed to drop the remaining charges when he was sentenced to prison in 2012.
Finney County District Court Judge Michael Quint sentenced DeAnda to a "Hard 50" life sentence, or life in prison without eligibility for parole for 50 years. The Kansas Supreme Court then reversed that sentence in 2014 and remanded the case back to Finney County for a new sentencing proceeding, ruling that the sentence violated a U.S. Supreme Court ruling requiring that a jury, not a judge, make the finding of aggravating factors necessary for the "Hard 50" sentence.
Prior to resentencing, DeAnda moved to withdraw his guilty plea. District court denied that motion after conducting an evidentiary hearing, and DeAnda appealed the ruling.
Friday’s Kansas Supreme Court ruling affirmed the district court’s denial on the grounds that it was supported by evidence and that DeAnda failed to establish good cause for the motion to withdraw.
The matter of resentencing DeAnda in Finney County District Court remains unresolved. He currently is being held in the El Dorado Correctional Facility.
Police arrested the then 17-year-old DeAnda in December 2008 after Quintana’s body was discovered in a Dumpster in the alley behind DeAnda’s Garden City residence.
After Quintana didn’t appear at a friend’s birthday party, her family filed a missing person’s report with the Kearny County Sheriff’s Office and the Garden City Police Department.
Evidence from an autopsy indicated that Quintana died from asphyxiation. DeAnda admitted to choking Quintana to death before using her body as a sex object and dragging her from his home to a nearby Dumpster.
Contact Mark Minton at email@example.com.