A Labette County judge on Monday sentenced a Coffeyville man convicted of second-degree murder to 18 years in prison.
Donald D. Collins, 65, was tried in late May in Labette County District Court on a two-count complaint. He was charged with intentional second-degree murder, a level one felony, and interfering with a law officer, a low-level felony. Nina Lee, 50, also of Coffeyville, was murdered on Feb. 15, 2020, at the Canterbury Inn, 400 Main.
After deliberating for three hours, the jury found Collins guilty of reckless second-degree murder, a level two felony, and the interference charge.
The difference in prison terms between a level one and a level two felony, for someone with Collins’ criminal history, is 67 months for a standard sentence.
Lee was last seen alive entering Room 309 at the Canterbury shortly after being dropped off there at 5:51 a.m. Feb. 15, 2020, by a sheriff’s deputy.
A Labette County Sheriff’s Office accident report shows that at 3:36 a.m. that day Lee and Collins were involved in a one-vehicle, non-injury accident north of Oswego.
A maid dropped off towels at the room at 10:23 a.m. that day. Collins left the room at 12:42 p.m. that day and paid his bill at the motel lobby before walking to Braum’s for food. He returned to the room at 1:11 p.m. that day.
The 911 call reporting Lee unresponsive and possibly overdosing on methamphetamine was made at 1:39 p.m. Parsons police arrived minutes later, according to evidence presented at the trial and from an accident report retrieved by the Sun.
Collins told investigators that he argued with Lee that morning and that he had pulled Lee from the tub when he found her. In another version he shared he said Lee was on the floor when he found her. A Braum’s cup was on the bathtub’s ledge without a straw in it.
The autopsy revealed that Lee died of asphyxiation because a multi-colored sock and a pink straw were shoved deep into her throat.
Labette County Attorney Mandy Johnson told the jury that the manner of death was unknown, but the cause was clear: Asphyxiation. Evidence showed that Lee and Collins were the only persons in that room, and there was no way Lee could have placed the sock and straw so deep in her throat. Collins didn’t tell anyone about the sock and straw in Lee’s throat.
Collins’ attorney Robert Myers told jurors that Lee also had a high level of meth in her femoral blood, enough to cause a medical crisis. Myers also noted the absence of defensive wounds on Lee.
On Monday, Myers argued for a new trial for his client, citing several statements made by, phrases used or evidence introduced by Mandy Johnson at the trial. Judge Fred W. Johnson denied the motion for a new trial.
Collins has a criminal history score of C, which increases penalties for convictions because of his criminal record.
The prosecutor asked for the aggravated number of months for the convictions and Myers asked for a standard sentence for his client.
Judge Johnson sentenced Collins to a controlling 18 years in prison, or 217 months. Collins received credit for 1,008 days he’s been in jail awaiting the case to resolve. Collins also must register as a violent offender for 15 years after his discharge from prison.
No family members of Lee attended Monday’s hearing and Collins did not speak during allocution.
Sorry, there are no recent results for popular commented articles.