Despite a request for a delay from the defense, a preliminary hearing for a man accused of a murder and rape in Platte City last fall went on as scheduled Friday in Platte County Associate Circuit Court in front of Judge Daniel Czamanske.
After hearing testimony, Czamanske found probable cause existed to believe Jacob E. McGinnis, 24, of Kansas City, committed first degree murder, rape, armed criminal action, and burglary on Sept. 10, 2005.
McGinnis is charged with the murder of Steven J. Sandoval, 32, of Platte City in the very early hours of Sept. 10, 2005. He is also accused of raping the murder victim’s wife at the Sandoval’s home on Maple Drive.
McGinnis had requested the hearing be delayed due to an illness of one of his attorneys, Charlie Dickman. Dickman and William Dick Fickle were recently hired by McGinnis to serve as his defense counsel. Prior to that, McGinnis had been represented by a public defender.
Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd successfully objected to the request for the hearing to be delayed.
“We objected to that request because this is a very traumatic case for the rape victim who is the wife of the man murdered. Given that she had been in my office preparing in what was an emotional time two days earlier, I didn’t think it was appropriate to allow the case to be continued without an objection,” Zahnd told The Landmark.
The judge agreed.
Friday’s hearing included testimony from the rape victim as well as Kansas City Police Department and Missouri Highway Patrol officers.
The victim testified McGinnis and her husband were best friends, and McGinnis had been at her and her husband’s home earlier that night before McGinnis and the husband had left to go to a park. She said McGinnis returned later, held a shotgun on her and raped her.
At the time, McGinnis allegedly told her that he had her husband duct taped in the trunk of the car. But investigators believe Sandoval had already been murdered before McGinnis drove to the victim’s home and allegedly committed the rape.
Hours after the rape, which was responded to by Platte City police around 1:40 a.m. after a 911 hang-up call was received, the rape victim’s husband was found murdered along an outer road near I-29 and Bethel Road. The outer road intersects with N. Bethel Ave. east of Interstate 29 north of the Mexico City exit.
A Kansas City Police Department detective testified that the murder victim had three gunshot wounds to his back. Police also found three spent 12-gauge shotgun rounds at the murder scene, Camel cigarette butts, empty Natural Light beer cans, and an empty red bag of peanuts.
According to court documents, when police searched McGinnis’ residence, they found empty cans of Natural Light beer, an empty Camel cigarette pack, and several red bags of peanuts.
A Missouri Highway Patrol officer testified McGinnis was found about 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10 in Putnam County, Missouri near the Iowa border, naked and unresponsive in his car. Police later searched McGinnis’ vehicle. They found blood on the outside of the vehicle, a bag of peanuts, red shotgun shells similar to the shells found at the murder scene, and a shotgun.
If convicted of the first degree murder charge, McGinnis faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.
McGinnis is being held in lieu of a $1,000,000 cash bond. His next court appearance is scheduled for April 6 at 10 a.m. At that time, McGinnis will be formally arraigned on the charges and his attorney will have the opportunity to enter a plea on his behalf, Zahnd said.