Three years of legal wrangling is expected to come to an end Friday when the third and final suspect is sentenced for the murder of Kenneth Allen Jr.
Blake S. Schindler, 20, is scheduled to be sentenced Friday Nov. 8, at 3 p.m. in the Franklin County Judicial Center in front of Michael S. Wright, 12th District judge in Warren County.
Schindler was found guilty Aug. 28 by a Franklin County jury of second-degree felony murder, and felonies of first-degree burglary, felonies restraint and robbery for Allen’s death Nov. 3, 2016.
The jury recommended Schindler serve 80 years in prison, but Judge Wright will make the final sentencing decision.
The two other suspects, Timothy D. Wonish, 33, and Whitney D. Robins, 31, are serving seven years in the Missouri Department of Corrections on the charge of involuntary manslaughter.
Schindler rejected the same plea agreement offered by former Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney Robert Parks to the other two suspects.
Then, after Parks left office in December 2018, the new prosecutor, Matt Becker, took Schindler’s case to the grand jury — a decision supported by Ken Allen’s daughter Kathy Allen.
“Weeks after Schindler surprised Parks that day, the newly elected (Becker) reindicted Schindler on all of the original charges, ready to take him to trial,” she said.
Kathy Allen has publicly criticized Parks’ decision to offer the suspects a plea agreement. She also took him to court by filing a writ of mandamus in February 2018 to have Parks removed from the Wonish, Robins and Schindler cases.
“The significance of Schindler’s conviction cannot be overstated,” Kathy Allen said.
“Whereas the previous Prosecuting Attorney Parks was ready to allow them to get away with it by offering a plea deal for a far lesser offense, the new Prosecuting Attorney Becker made the case for one of them and nailed Schindler,” she added.
“All the while I have organized, protested in the street and in social media this miscarriage of justice that was given to the other two assailants. With the help of friends and family, we were heard by the community and the local criminal justice system.”
It took the Franklin County jury comprised of five women and seven men 40 minutes to return guilty verdicts at the conclusion of the three-day trial.
During closing arguments of the trial, Becker argued that Wonish, Robins and Schindler intended to steal from Allen “to feed their drug habit.”
“Whitney Robins described a scene to the detective who interviewed her of Ken Allen immediately being attacked by Blake Schindler and Tim Wonish,” he told the jury. “Whitney Robins wrapped a lamp cord around Ken Allen’s legs after she was told to make him stop kicking — either Timothy Wonish or Blake Schindler bound his hands with a phone charge cord.”
When Allen was found, he was lying in a pool of blood with his hands bound behind him and feet wrapped up with a lamp cord.
“At some point during this altercation, one of them applied pressure to Ken Allen’s neck, causing his death by asphyxiation due to neck compression,” Becker said in the closing arguments.
The prosecutor also alleged in the courtroom that Schindler directed Robins to a dresser where she stole credit cards and Ken Allen’s prescription medication.
“After they had Ken Allen tied up face down on the floor, the evidence suggests that the three of them immediately started stealing,” Becker told the jury.
He said the suspects then drove to North St. Louis County using Allen’s credit cards a couple of times along the way, before purchasing heroin for Robins and Wonish.
After presenting the guilty verdicts, the jury later returned with verdicts sentencing Schindler to a total of 80 years in prison on the charges.
The jury’s verdicts were: 30 years each on the counts of murder and robbery. For burglary, the jury returned a verdict of 15 years, and five years for restraint.
Judge Wright will make the final decision on sentencing Friday. On Oct. 24, the Sentencing Assessment Report (SAR) was filed with the courts.
On Sept. 29, Joseph M. Hadican, Schindler’s attorney, filed a motion for a new trial.