A Parsons man received five years in prison for manufacturing methamphetamine.

He could have received a minimum of 13 years in prison on the charge given his criminal history, but the plea agreement made a sentencing recommendation that the judge accepted.

In July, Hunter G. Beachner, 26, pleaded to manufacturing meth, a level one drug felony. The plea in Labette County District Court recommended the reduced prison term to 60 months, or five years. Beachner’s attorney, Linus Thuston, filed a motion to depart from sentencing law that required the longer term.

Beachner was with two others, James Altendorf and Shauda McKee, when they were arrested May 26, 2020, on suspicion of manufacturing meth. Labette County sheriff’s deputies stopped the pickup at 1:25 a.m. that day at 14th and Main. During the stop, deputies found items used to manufacture meth, along with meth and drug paraphernalia.

At the time, Sheriff Darren Eichinger said items recovered included fertilizer sticks, muriatic acid, drain cleaner, Coleman fuel, rock salt and a gas generator. The gas generator is used in the final stages of meth manufacturing, the sheriff said at the time. The meth-making items were found in the bed of the pickup, and Altendorf, who admitted to making meth, was a passenger in the vehicle, according to facts presented previously. Meth was also found in the cab of the pickup.

Altendorf received 15 years in prison for meth making and unrelated burglary convictions. His sentence for meth-making was reduced by about five years in the plea. McKee received about 11 years in prison for conspiracy to make meth and an unrelated burglary conviction. However, she was given probation for three years through community corrections and was to complete drug treatment.

This week, Thuston said his client had a minimal role in the meth making. Beachner drove the co-defendants around to collect needed ingredients. In exchange, Beachner received some of the product to feed his addiction, Thuston said. When Beachner was arrested, he cooperated with the officers. Thuston added that Beachner took responsibility for his role in the crime. Thuston argued that manufacturing cases are happening less frequently and when there is a conviction the prison terms are generally reduced. Beachner’s co-defendants also received the benefit of reduced sentencing, he said.

Beachner told Judge Steve Stockard that his time in jail gave him time to reflect, and he concluded that he wanted to get his addiction under control and be a better father for his three young girls. He hopes to further address his addiction in prison.

“I just want to do better in life,” Beachner said.

Stockard told Beachner he appreciated his sincerity and commentary. So many defendants seek leniency and then don’t say a word before sentencing is announced, he said. He found the request met the legal reasons to depart from the standard sentence and sentenced Beachner to 60 months in prison. He said Beachner will have at least 479 days of jail credit applied to that term and more once the days are added between the pre-sentence report being filed and the actual sentencing date. Stockard also agreed to waive attorney fees of about $1,100.

Beachner will have to register as a drug offender for 15 years.

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