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Monday, May 2, 2016

Kirkpatrick sentencing reveals more details of murder

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

McCOOK, Nebraska -- 20-year-old Stathis Kirkpatrick was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday for the 2011 murder of 14-year-old Kailee Clapp. Kirkpatrick offered no explanation for his actions that tragic night, his defense attorneys gave no statement in his defense, and when asked by District Court Judge David Urbom if there was anything he would like to say, Kirkpatrick merely replied "No, there is not."

The sentence leaves no possibility of parole, unless it is some day commuted to a term of years.

Prior to Kirkpatrick's statement Special Prosecutor Corey O'Brien of the Nebraska Attorney General's office offered the courtroom a glimpse into the horrors Kailee Clapp experienced that evening.

O'Brien said the Kirkpatrick case was unusual, in more ways than one. He pointed out that it was rare to have a plea agreement reached in a case that resulted in a mandatory life sentence, rare for the court to find itself in a unique position of passing judgement without a trial and rare to see a case involving such horrific acts.

"This was a horrific, senseless, crime by any measure. It was the ultimate act of selfishness," said O'Brien, before adding that he had seen many horrific crime scenes and acts against human beings, "this ranks right at the top."

O'Brien said only a small portion of the evidence in the case was released and urged any court entities reviewing the case to look at the evidence, which he asked law enforcement to store indefinitely. O'Brien cited audio, video and photographic evidence in the case and said the prosecution had provided a very "sanitary version" of the facts.

O'Brien said Kailee Clapp was the beautiful girl next door who lost her life in an instant. "Lured from her room at 3 a.m. by someone she considered a friend."

O'Brien went on to say that Kirkpatrick attacked her in the alley behind her home and then took her battered body 20 miles to the Bartley Cemetery.

"While she was still breathing and alive he doused her in gasoline and set her ablaze, a fire so intense she had to be identified by dental records."

Sobbing broke out from several in the courtroom after O'Brien's account of the assault, at which time he reiterated that it was only a small portion of the facts in the case, saying there was more than what had been reported in the newspapers and even more than what had been presented to the court.

O'Brien said that untold hours were spent investigating rumors and allegations of another person being involved in the case and in the end it was clear that there was no one else to blame for the crime, other "than that man over there," indicating Kirkpatrick.

O'Brien said the family of Kailee Clapp had asked him to speak for them, relating the message that Tuesday was not just the day of Kirkpatrick's sentencing, not just a sad day for the community, family and friends of Kailee Clapp, but also a day that justice would be obtained and wounds that were fostered 22 months ago would begin to heal.

O'Brien said he had visited McCook prior to his involvement in the case and always found it to be a small town where everybody knew everybody. When he arrived in January of 2011 something was different. O'Brien said the tragic death of Kailee Clapp had served some good and the community was stronger for it. He praised the work of local law enforcement and investigators working the case, as well as the Clapp family's ability to follow his requests and direction during such a tragic and emotional time.

Kirkpatrick's defense attorneys followed O'Brien's emotional statement, saying they had no statement for the defense. Kirkpatrick was next and spoke only those four words, "No, there is not."

Urbom subsequently sentenced Kirkpatrick to the mandatory sentence of "not less than life imprisonment, nor more than life imprisonment, with the Nebraska Department of Corrections," on the charge of first degree premeditated murder.

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