Joshua Knapp will spend the rest of his life in prison for the March 2016 murder of Iolan Shawn Cook.
Allen County District Judge Daniel Creitz sentenced Knapp Tuesday to the hard 50 life sentence, meaning he will not be eligible for parole for 50 years.
Knapp, who turns 37 on Sunday, was convicted in July of first-degree murder, at the conclusion of a four-day jury trial.
Knapp, of Fort Scott, was accused of teaming with Iolan Amber Boeken and killing Cook following a failed drug deal involving Cook and another co-defendant, Rhonda Jackson.
Boeken, who previously pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, testified she and Knapp took Cook to rural Allen County, where she said Knapp stabbed Cook in the throat. Then, after realizing the wounds werent fatal, used another vehicle to take Cook to a desolate area along the Neosho River northwest of Iola, where Cook was stabbed again and left for dead.
Cook was reported missing by his family four days later, sparking a two-week manhunt before his body was found along the Neosho in rural Coffey County.
Prior to sentencing, Creitz overruled a motion by John Boyd, Knapps attorney, to have his clients conviction overturned. Boyd, whose motion for a new trial also was rejected, contended Knapp was denied a fair trial, citing inconsistencies in testimony from Boeken and others both during the trial and during Knapps preliminary hearing. Boyd also said the jury incorrectly convicted Knapp of committing murder in Allen County, because Cooks body was found in Coffey County.
Knapp and Boeken were among five co-defendants originally charged with first-degree murder.
Boeken and the others, Jackson, Jim Myers and Jessica Epting, pleaded guilty to lesser crimes in exchange for their testimony against Knapp.
Boeken will spend about 10 years in prison for her second-degree murder conviction.
Jackson pleaded guilty to an involuntary manslaughter charge, admitting her culpability in directing Knapp and Boeken to the river with Cook in the back of a pickup. She also pleaded guilty to a count of using a cell phone in the execution of an illegal drug transaction.
Myers pleaded guilty to four counts of obstructing justice, admitting his role in helping Boeken and Knapp destroy evidence, including bloody clothing, following Cooks murder. He was subsequently sentenced to 28 months in jail, and has completed his sentence.
Epting pleaded guilty to obstructing justice, and received a suspended sentence.
KNAPP also was convicted of two counts of interfering with law enforcement for his actions after the murder, first by going with Myers to wash the blood out of Myers pickup, then by going with Myers and Boeken the next day to a vacant farmstead near Gas to burn his soiled clothing and the knives used to kill Cook. Creitz sentenced Knapp to 14 and eight months, respectively, for those two convictions, which will run concurrently to his life sentence.
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