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Last man sentenced in attack

By ERIN MATHEWS Salina Journal

It’s one of those stories that makes you just shake your head.

A group of guys are told that a woman has been raped. At least two of the men attack and nearly cut off the leg of the alleged rapist before loading him in the trunk of a car and then dumping him off near a bridge out in the county in the middle of the night.

But then, the alleged rape victim refuses a rape exam and won’t pursue charges. It turns out that she and the man she accused of raping her may have been involved in a relationship, and now they may have left town — together.

Without the testimony of the man whose leg was nearly cut off, charges of attempted second-degree murder were dropped by the Saline County Attorney’s Office and pleas were accepted from his attackers.

On Monday, the last of the four accused in the attack was sentenced to eight and a half years in prison.

Joshua J. Hearne, 28, pleaded no contest in May to one count of kidnapping in connection with the May 27, 2009, incident in which Hearne and two other men removed Jeffery Walcher, then 33, from a Salina mobile home, severely injured his right leg with a homemade sword and left him near a bridge on Muir Road about five miles west of Salina.

Hearne and the other two defendants are also being held responsible for paying more than $21,500 in restitution to the Saline County Crime Victims Fund for the cost of Walcher’s leg surgery and other medical expenses.

Hearne, Paul N. Livengood II, 44, and Charles L. Barrand, 31, will also be subject to three years of post-release supervision and be required to register with the state as violent offenders.

Photos of his leg

“I’m sure the court will always remember the photos of his leg,” Saline County Attorney Ellen Mitchell said Monday at Hearne’s sentencing. The photos were among the pieces of evidence admitted at a preliminary hearing in October.

Saline County District Court Judge Patrick Thompson said it was “nothing short of miraculous” that Walcher was able to walk into court to testify for the preliminary hearing.

“Quite frankly, the court will probably always be amazed the victim in this case survived,” Thompson said.

Mitchell said that since that hearing, court officials have been unable to locate Walcher, which was part of the reason the plea agreements were accepted and original charges of attempted second-degree murder were dropped.

Livengood was sentenced June 23 to four years and four months in prison after he pleaded to aggravated battery in connection with the case. Barrand, who pleaded to kidnapping in commission of a crime, was sentenced March 8. His earliest possible release date is listed on the Kansas Department of Corrections website as Jan. 24, 2016.

A fourth man, Christopher Macy, 44, was placed on supervised probation June 21 for a year and a half and ordered to serve 30 days in jail. He was given a suspended sentence of eight months in prison after pleading to aiding a felon for driving the other men to the trailer.

Tried to cut off his leg

According to a police affidavit, Walcher said he was sleeping at his then-girlfriend’s mobile home when a man entered and began fighting with him. A second man joined in the attack and attempted to cut off Walcher’s leg with a black-bladed sword, the affidavit said. Walcher didn’t remember a third person being involved, but others told police the third man was present.

After the attack, Walcher said, he was put into the trunk of a vehicle and later taken out and thrown into a ditch.

Walcher told authorities that before the incident, his girlfriend, Heather Diehl, had gone to the Salina Regional Health Center emergency room for treatment of a medical problem. Hospital records showed that Diehl left the emergency room against medical advice at 11:50 p.m., telling staff she had a situation at home, the affidavit said.

Police found and interviewed Diehl, who did not return to the trailer until the next day. She said her daughter had taken her to the emergency room because she wasn’t feeling well. They left Walcher and Kourtney Childers, a 19-year-old family friend from Wichita, at the trailer.

She said she’d been raped

While they were at the hospital, her daughter received a text message from Childers indicating something was wrong and asking for someone to come get her. Her daughter took Childers, who was visibly upset, to the ER, and Childers told Diehl that she had been raped by Walcher, according to the affidavit.

Diehl told police she became angry and went to Livengood’s house, told him what Walcher was accused of doing and asked him to remove Walcher from her home.

Livengood and two men Diehl knew as “Jay” and “Charlie” left, and some time later they returned. Diehl told police Livengood told her they had “snatched” Walcher from her residence, roughed him up a little bit and dropped him off, according to the affidavit.

When police interviewed Livengood, he said he had wrestled with Walcher, who pointed a gun in his face. He said the men took the gun and got rid of it in an unknown location, according to the affidavit.

Hit with a machete

Livengood said someone else hit Walcher’s leg with a machete they had brought with them, and that Walcher was badly injured, the affidavit said. Livengood told police they loaded Walcher in the trunk of Macy’s car and were going to take him to the hospital, but they dropped Walcher on a county road after he threatened to get other members of his gang to come and “take care of business.”

According to the affidavit, Childers refused to have a sexual assault examination and would not give authorities specifics of what occurred.

Mitchell said at Hearne’s sentencing Monday that the rape allegation was unfounded, and no charges were ever filed against Walcher in connection with the incident.

Following the sentencing, Mitchell said, Walcher showed authorities text messages from Childers that supported his claim that he and Childers were involved in a relationship, and authorities believe Childers and Walcher left Salina together.

n Reporter Erin Mathews can be reached at 822-1415 or by e-mail at [email protected].

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