Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Daughter of Man Killed in Franklin County Angered by Manslaughter Plea Deals

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Daughter of Man Killed in Franklin County Angered by Manslaughter Plea Deals

Article excerpt

FRANKLIN COUNTY - Two of three defendants charged in the death of a Franklin County man pleaded guilty Tuesday to involuntary manslaughter, a reduced charge that has infuriated the victim's daughter.

Kenneth Allen Jr., 70, was found dead and hogtied in his Franklin County home near Washington, Mo., on Nov. 3, 2016. His death certificate listed the cause of death as asphyxiation and neck compression. Allen had worked as a drug counselor and probation officer.

Three defendants were charged in the case. Timothy D. Wonish, 32, Whitney Dawn Robins, 30, and Blake S. Schindler, 19, all from Union, originally were charged with burglary, and later second-degree murder.

On Tuesday, Wonish and Robins pleaded guilty to reduced charges of first-degree involuntary manslaughter. Warren County Judge Mike Wright, appointed as a special judge in their cases after other Franklin County judges recused themselves, sentenced Wonish and Robins each to seven years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Schindler, who had a plea hearing scheduled for Tuesday as well, decided not to plead guilty and was given a trial date in January. The charge he faces is also first-degree involuntary manslaughter.

Involuntary manslaughter is a Class C felony in Missouri with punishment that can range from one day to seven years in prison.

As the case has worked its way through the court system, two judges have rejected plea deals, with one of them specifically calling the deals too lenient. The victim's daughter, Kathy Allen of Contra Costa County, Calif., has fought to have the county prosecutor removed from the case, alleging that her father was murdered -- not the victim of manslaughter.

Allen has claimed that the prosecutor, Robert Parks, and the victims' advocate on his staff misrepresented how much prison time the defendants would serve under the deals, and says that Parks wrongly dismissed additional charges so the defendants' sentences would be shorter. …

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