Woman who killed Lawrence man gets reduced sentence


LAWRENCE (AP) — A woman sentenced to life in prison for the killing of a Lawrence man in 2014 had her sentence reduced by 25 years. Sarah Gonzales-McLinn had been sentenced to 50 years in prison without the possibility of parole for the death of 52-year-old Harold Sasko.

Sarah McLinn

A Douglas County jury convicted 20-year-old Sarah Gonzalez McLinn of murdering her roommate 52-year-old Harold Sasko in January 2014. Investigators say they found Sasko bound to a chair and nearly decapitated. Sasko owned Cici’s Pizza restaurants in Topeka and Lawrence and McLinn had worked for him.

On Tuesday, a judge agreed to a recommendation from prosecutors and her defense attorney that Gonzales-McLinn be resentenced to allow for parole after 25 years.

The agreement acknowledged that Gonzales-McLinn received ineffective counsel during her 2015 trial.

A Lawrence detective testified that McLinn drugged Sasko before killing him by crushing 5 sleeping pills into his beer.

Once unconscious, his hands and feet were bound with zipties to restrain him. Cut zipties were found at the scene and McLinn told police she hesitated for a moment before going through with the murder when Sasko mumbled something but she then felt for his pulse and plunged the knife as far down as she could.

A coroner testified that Sasko’s neck had been cut from side to side all the way down to the bone using a sawing motion with a large hunting knife. McLinn then dipped a towel in his blood, smeared it on the wall, and tried to write the word “freedom.”

Sasko and Gonzales-McLinn were living together when he was killed.

Prosecutors said he was drugged and bound and nearly decapitated.

Gonzales-McLinn supporters suggested Sasko was abusing her at the time.

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