A 19-year-old who pleaded guilty to killing a Jackson County man when he and an accomplice burglarized the man's home has been sentenced to 15 years in state prison.
John Lane, of Kansas City, pleaded guilty in October to second-degree murder in the December 2016 death of 84-year-old John Rector in his rural southeastern Jackson County home. He and 34-year-old Mary Couts had each been charged with second-degree murder, armed criminal action and burglary for the November 2016 attack. Rector was found bleeding and unconscious from a beating and never regained consciousness.
Friday morning at the Eastern Jackson County Courthouse in Independence, Circuit Judge Jennifer Phillips sentenced Lane to 15 years for murder, plus 10 years for burglary and seven years each for two charges of tampering with a motor vehicle in other cases – all to run concurrently.
The state had dismissed Lane's other two charges in the Rector case when he pleaded guilty from the other cases in October.
Couts is scheduled to go on trial May 28.
According to court records, a friend found Rector on Nov. 27, 2016, in the backyard of his home, bleeding and suffering from trauma to the back of his head. The friend reported Rector's house had been ransacked and that a 60-inch television and a briefcase containing financial documents were missing.
Investigators used reports and surveillance footage from a bank and cell phone images from another burglary victim to eventually tie the crimes to Lane and Couts. Lane was in custody of the Johnson County Sheriff's Office on charges out of Raytown at the time, and Couts was in the Jackson County jail on charges from Kansas City. Each told investigators that the other person had knocked down Rector from behind and beaten him with a plumber's wrench. Lane claimed he tried to stop Couts after she started to hit Rector and wanted to call for an ambulance, but Couts took his cellphone and threw it out the window.