LARNED — A Garden City man was found guilty of aggravated kidnapping, theft of a motor vehicle and aggravated endangering a child, Wednesday in Pawnee County District Court. Zachary Hutchens, 20, will return to court on Nov. 16 for sentencing, Pawnee County Attorney Douglas McNett reported.
The verdict was the result of a jury trial conducted Tuesday and Wednesday. The jury made up of five women and seven men deliberated for approximately 3 hours before returning at 6:40 p.m. Wednesday with their verdict. Hutchens was also found guilty of misdemeanor theft.
Prior to the case being sent to the jury, the court dismissed a charge of criminal threat.
According to McNett, the jury heard testimony that around 5:15 p.m. on Sept. 6, 2016, a motorist in Great Bend witnessed a young woman in another vehicle being struck repeatedly and having her hair pulled. The motorist testified that when their vehicles were side by side at the intersection 10th and Main the woman looked at him and mouthed, “Help Me, Help Me, Please Help Me!” The motorist then called 911 and followed the suspect vehicle to Ellinwood.
As the suspect vehicle entered Ellinwood on U.S. 56, the driver tried to elude an Ellinwood Police Department officer at the edge of town. The vehicle was ultimately stopped in an alleyway. The Barton County Sheriff’s Office also responded to the scene.
“The Ellinwood officer found a very distraught 17-year-old female in the vehicle with Hutchens,” McNett continued. “She told the officers that Hutchens had forced her into the car in Larned, Kansas, and that every time she tried to exit the vehicle he struck her and pulled her hair.”
Barton County Sheriff’s Office deputies took Hutchens into custody. The deputies testified they classified the case as a “rolling domestic” and it was referred to the Larned Police Department for follow-up as the jurisdiction in which the incident started.
“At trial, the girl told the jury that she had been in an on-again off-again relationship with Hutchens for approximately a month. After they broke up, they had made arrangements to meet Sept. 6, 2016, at 4:30 p.m. in Schnack Park in Larned, Kansas, to exchange property. Once there an argument ensued and Hutchens took her car keys and cellular phone. When she tried to walk away the defendant grabbed her arm and forced her into the passenger side of her vehicle and then drove the vehicle in the direction of Great Bend,” McNett reported. “She further testified that Hutchens stated he would drive head-on into a semi-truck if she continued to try to escape. The defendant later threw her cellular phone out the window.”
Following the reading of the verdict, presiding Judge Bruce Gatterman advised Hutchens that he will now be subject to lifetime registration as a violent offender. The defendant was already a registered sex offender. He was remanded to the custody of the Pawnee County Sheriff.
Hutchens is also subject to a probation hold for a prior Finney County conviction for aggravated indecent solicitation of a child of less than 14 years of age.
Sentencing is scheduled for 2 p.m. Nov. 16. Depending on his criminal history, Hutchens faces a maximum sentence of 54 years in the custody of the Department of Corrections for the aggravated kidnapping conviction to run consecutive to his Finney County convictions by operation of law.
Pawnee County Attorney McNett presented the State’s case at trial. Hutchens was represented by Scott James and Chay Howard of Greensburg.