OSWEGO — Tiffany Nicole Jakee avoided a two-week jury trial and pleaded no contest Wednesday to an amended charge of second-degree murder and three other counts. If the sentencing recommendation is accepted by the judge, Jakee faces just under 14 years in prison.
Jakee, 30, of St. Paul, faced seven charges in Labette County District Court related to events on April 1, 2020, that took the life of her boyfriend, William Alexander Treiber, 30, also of St. Paul. She was charged with first-degree murder, an off-grid felony. She was also charged with failing to stop at an accident involving death or personal injury, a mid-level felony, and two counts of aggravated endangering a child, both low level felonies. Jakee was also charged with two misdemeanors and a traffic infraction. Domestic battery and driving under the influence were the misdemeanors and driving left of center in a no-passing zone was the infraction.
The Kansas Highway Patrol investigated the fatal car-pedestrian accident that took Treiber’s life. According to the KHP, the accident occurred at 9:17 p.m. April 1, 2020, on U.S. 59 (North 16th Street) about four-tenths of a mile south of U.S. 400.
Jakee was southbound on U.S. 59 just south of Larsen Boulevard. She passed another southbound vehicle in a no-passing zone and then drove partially off the roadway onto the northbound shoulder and struck Treiber, who was walking south on that shoulder. Treiber was pronounced dead at the scene.
Jakee kept driving south and law enforcement stopped her 2007 Ford Mustang at 25000 Road and arrested her. Blood alcohol testing on her showed .227 at 10:11 p.m. and .205 at 10:36 p.m., according to the probable cause affidavit filed in the case. A driver in Kansas is considered drunk at .08.
In October 2020, Jakee waived her right to a preliminary hearing. A pretrial hearing was set for April 28 and her jury trial was set for two weeks, May 17-28.
On Wednesday, she appeared in court in Oswego for a plea hearing. She pleaded no contest to an amended charge of second-degree murder, two counts of aggravated child endangerment and one count of driving under the influence.
Judge Fred W. Johnson reviewed the amended complaint, specifically the charges to which Jakee was to plead. He also reviewed Jakee’s rights she was giving up by pleading. Jakee was emotional during the plea, crying softly at times.
She pleaded no contest to second-degree murder, two counts of aggravated endangering a child and DUI. The remaining counts will be dismissed as part of the plea. The murder charge alleges she intentionally murdered Treiber. The difference between first-degree murder and second-degree murder at sentencing is life in prison for one and a minimum term of 147 months (12 1/4 years) for the other. Off-grid crimes such as first-degree murder also carry mandatory minimums with no parole eligibility until the person serves 25 to 50 years, depending on how a judge rules at sentencing.
Robert Myers, Jakee’s attorney, said the terms of the plea were tentatively agreed to following mediation Feb. 26. The agreement was finalized after consulting with Treiber’s family, he said. A later change added the DUI count to the plea.
Myers said the plea with the county attorney’s office recommends a controlling prison term of 167 months, which is just under 14 years. Jakee has already spent most of a year in jail. Jakee will also have to register as a violent offender for 15 years under the Kansas Offender Registration Act.
Deputy County Attorney Mandy Johnson recited facts that she could produce at trial that she thought would lead to Jakee’s conviction. The recitation generally followed the facts in the complaint and in the probable cause affidavit (most of which are listed above in this article). The aggravated endangering charges related to Jakee driving drunk while two children were in her Mustang.
Judge Johnson accepted the plea, found Jakee guilty and scheduled sentencing for April 28 in Parsons.
Myers then argued a motion to clarify bond conditions for Jakee. He said his client has court orders in place to not have contact with victims or witnesses, including her children. She has photos of her children in her property at the jail, but jailers have not allowed her to keep photos of her children in the cell for fear of violating the court’s no contact order. Myers asked Judge Johnson to issue an order allowing Jakee to have these photos in her cell. Mandy Johnson didn’t have an objection for the photos. Judge Johnson agreed to the request and said he would sign an order when it comes to him. Jakee thanked the judge.