HUTCHINSON, Kan. — A Hutchinson man who entered a plea to second-degree murder involving a fatal hit-and-run accident from 2017 may get a break when sentencing occurs Friday.
The state amended count one from first-degree murder to second-degree murder and Taylor Lukone entered no contest pleas to that charge and two others, including failing to stop at an accident and interference with law enforcement.
Part of the agreement was that he couldn’t seek a departure at sentencing, but Reno County District Judge Trish Rose has now filed notice that she intends to grant a departure even though the state and the defense agreed on a sentencing recommendation.
In a notice filed with the court, Judge Rose says she will depart from the more than 10-year maximum sentence citing the fact Lukone was only 18 at the time of the crime, doesn’t have a history of violence, has only two misdemeanor convictions for drugs, and accepted responsibility for his actions. Rose says she will allow both sides to give arguments before she makes a final decision.
The crimes occurred on Sept. 21, 2017, in the 1200 block of East 4th. Officers were called to the report of a bicyclist who had been struck by a vehicle that fled the scene. The bicyclist was later identified as 51-year-old Jose Lopez.
Lukone reportedly became angry because Lopez supposedly treated his mother and others poorly. Lukone intentionally struck Lopez, then left the scene.
Sentencing in the case is set for Friday at 2:30 p.m.