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      9/22/2005  

 

 

 

 

 

McGinnis charged with murder; bond at $1 million

by Ivan Foley
Landmark editor

A murder charge has been filed against the only man authorities ever considered a suspect in the recent killing of a 32-year-old Platte City resident.

Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd on Monday filed charges of murder in the second degree and armed criminal action against Jacob E. McGinnis, 24, of Kansas City, in the death of Steven J. Sandoval.

McGinnis (Editor's note: After various spellings of his name could be found in court documents and police paperwork last week, officials this week reported that McGinnis is the correct spelling) entered a plea of not guilty in an arraignment on the murder charge Tuesday morning before Platte County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Czamanske. The next docket call in the murder case will be Oct. 18 at 9 a.m.

He is being held in the Platte County Detention Center on a cash-only bond of $1 million.

As reported in last week's Landmark, McGinnis already faces charges of rape and armed criminal action for the alleged sexual assault of the murder victim's wife.

Sandoval's body was found around 5 a.m. on Sept. 10 on a dead-end outer road east of Interstate 29 near North Bethel Avenue. Authorities say he had been shot in the back three times with a shotgun.

Platte City police, responding to a 911 hangup, arrived at the Sandoval residence on Maple Drive about 1:30 a.m. that morning where the rape victim alleged McGinnis, armed with a shotgun, sexually assaulted her. Authorities believe Sandoval had been killed prior to the rape. The couple's three year old son was in the home at the time of the rape, authorities say. Family members have told the media that a nine-year-old daughter of Sandoval was not in the home at the time.

McGinnis was arrested later that morning in Putnam County, naked in the back of his car that was parked in a cornfield. A Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper arrested McGinnis, believing he was high on methamphetamine. Authorities then discovered McGinnis was wanted for questioning in the Platte County rape and murder.

In details exclusively reported by The Landmark last week, court documents alleged McGinnis led the rape victim to believe that her husband was duct taped in the trunk of McGinnis' vehicle. The victim said McGinnis and her husband were best friends, and McGinnis had been at her and her husband's home earlier that night. Sandoval and McGinnis had left the Sandoval home earlier that evening to go to an area park.

Court papers filed this week indicate police found three spent 12-gauge shotgun rounds at the murder scene, as well as Camel cigarette butts, empty Natural Light beer cans, and an empty red bag of peanuts.

Later when police searched McGinnis' apartment at the Springs on Barry Road, they found empty cans of Natural Light beer, an empty Camel cigarette pack, and several red bags of peanuts, court documents allege.

Court papers also detail how authorities in Putnam County found blood on the outside of McGinnis' vehicle, bloody clothing, a bag of peanuts, red shotgun shells similar to the shells found at the murder scene, and a shotgun.

Zahnd said McGinnis faces up to life in prison if convicted of the rape and murder charges.

Authorities are gathering information on McGinnis' background. The rape victim told police that McGinnis had been in a mental hospital at one time and was on medication. A law enforcement source confirmed for The Landmark that McGinnis "has a history of treatment for mental issues.”

FAMILY IN TOWN
The parents of the murder victim were in Platte City at the time of the crime spree against their son and his wife. The parents were staying at the Comfort Inn, and were in the area to help celebrate the third birthday of their grandson. Steve Sandoval also had a step-daughter, age 9. She was not in the home at the time of the sexual assault.

The parents are residents of Garden Plain, Ks., about 15 minutes from Wichita.

According to Travis Mounts, news editor of the Times Sentinel newspaper in nearby Goddard, Ks., Steve Sandoval's father, Tom Sandoval, is a member of the Garden Plain city council.

Garden Plain is a town of about 800 people, a combination bedroom/farming community, Mounts said. The journalist said Steve Sandoval graduated Garden Plain High School in 1991 and later studied at St. Mary's in Leavenworth, at which time he became familiar with the Kansas City/Platte City area. Mounts said Sandoval family members told him that Steve and his family had lived in the Platte City and Kansas City area for about four years, and had been in their current Platte City residence only about two months.

Steve and his wife had celebrated their fourth wedding anniversary in March.

His obituary in last week's Landmark said Sandoval was an accountant and attended the First Baptist Church of Platte City, and described him as a "true Raider fan." Local funeral services were held last Thursday. A memorial service is planned in Garden Plain on Oct. 1.

 
 

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