A Parsons man received 15 years in prison on Thursday for two burglary convictions and for manufacturing methamphetamine.

James J. Altendorf, 36, formerly of 1411 Chess, pleaded no contest to two counts of residential burglary in February. The burglaries occurred on Dec. 1, 2019, at 1910 Morton and June 29, 2019, at 3131 Crawford.

Altendorf was expected to get probation, according to the plea, and was to be sentenced May 4. That hearing was delayed.

On May 26, Altendorf and two others were arrested on suspicion of manufacturing meth.

Labette County Sheriff’s Office deputies stopped a pickup at 1:25 a.m. May 26 at 14th and Main. During the traffic stop, deputies found items used to manufacture meth, along with meth and paraphernalia. Altendorf, Hunter Beachner, 24, and Shanda McKee, 39, were arrested.

At the time, Sheriff Darren Eichinger said among items recovered were 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 in court this week. Meth was also found in the cab of the pickup.

In August, Altendorf pleaded to manufacturing meth, a conviction that requires a minimum term of 11.5 years in prison. With Altendorf’s criminal history, he could have received up to 17 years in prison on just the meth conviction.

On Thursday, Daniel Reynolds, Altendorf’s attorney, explained the plea agreement and discussed the request for Judge Steve Stockard to depart from Kansas Sentencing Guidelines and reduce the prison term for Altendorf. Labette County Attorney Stephen Jones recommended the reduced prison term as well, citing Altendorf’s accommodations to investigating officers and the prosecution.

Altendorf would have been eligible for probation for the burglaries except for a special rule that applies to defendants with more serious criminal histories, which Altendorf has. His presumed sentence was therefore prison.

Stockard sentenced Altendorf to a controlling term of 39 months in prison on the burglaries. The judge then took up the manufacturing case. He asked Altendorf for his thoughts about sentencing. 

Altendorf asked for leniency. “I was wrong for doing that and I apologize, and I take full responsibility for what I’ve done,” he said.

Stockard said he was moved by Altendorf’s accommodations to investigators and the prosecutor and he found Altendorf to be “genuinely remorseful.”

“It is refreshing that on the record he accepts full responsibility, acknowledging he made a very poor judgment in this case,” Stockard said.

He sentenced Altendorf to 141 months (11.75 years) in prison on the manufacturing charge, when the sentence should have been 194 months, or 16.6 years. The law required the judge to add the burglary and manufacturing sentences together, giving a total sentence of 180 months, or 15 years. 

Defendants are generally granted credit for time served in jail, and that number is generally calculated in the pre-sentencing report, but the number was never announced in court.

Co-defendant McKee received 133 months in prison, or just over 11 years, for conspiracy to manufacture meth and an unrelated charge of residential burglary. She received probation for three years through community corrections, a more intensive probation. She is also to complete drug treatment. 

The final co-defendant, Beachner, will be in court Friday.

 

In another case, Ryan A. DeShazo, 19, pleaded guilty to vehicle burglary, a low level felony. Sentencing will be Dec. 11. DeShazo was also released from jail on his own recognizance. He’s been jailed since his arrest on Sept. 10, the same day he was caught for vehicle burglary and theft.

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