LARNED — A 37-year-old Larned man appeared before the Pawnee County District Court on Feb. 3 via Zoom and entered a plea of not guilty on nine counts of felony sex crimes. Justin W. Hammond also requested a 12-person jury trial during his hearing last week.
In July of 2020, Hammond was charged with five counts of aggravated indecent liberty with a child involving sexual intercourse with a child 14 or 15 years of age and three counts of indecent liberty with a child involving lewd fondling of a child 14 or 15 years of age.
Following a five-hour preliminary hearing on Nov. 20, 2020, Magistrate Judge Julie Cowell found the State had presented sufficient evidence to support the original charges plus an additional charge of oral sodomy, according to Pawnee County Attorney Doug McNett. McNett said the crimes are alleged to have occurred in Pawnee County between July 8 and Dec. 15, 2018.
If convicted and depending on criminal history, Hammond could face five to 20 years in prison under Kansas sentencing guidelines. He would also be required to register as a sex offender under the Kansas Offender Registration Act. McNett noted that all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
On July 10, 2020, Hammond turned himself into Pawnee County authorities and was released from custody the same day after posting a $75,000 surety bond. The Pawnee County Sheriff’s Office referred the case to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.