One of the men charged in the death of a Cherokee County, Kan., woman has pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of involuntary manslaughter.
John Gaston, 23, of Joplin, Mo., was originally charged with first-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary in the death of 86-year-old Dorothy Daniels in December of 2005.
According to Cherokee County Sheriff Steve Norman, Gaston and his accomplice, James Dean Rickey, 34, entered the home of Dorothy Daniels north of Crestline, Kan., on Dec. 1, 2005, around noon.
“The men ripped the phone cord from the wall and proceeded to rob her home, Norman said.
After the men left, Daniels drove to a neighbors house to call 911. While being interviewed by authorities, who arrived within minutes after the report, Daniels went into cardiac arrest. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation was performed on Daniels to revive her and authorities say she was alert and conscious when she was placed in the ambulance for transport to the hospital.
Daniels apparently suffered another heart attack on the way to the hospital and passed away.
Gaston and Rickey were part of a tri-state, home-invasion ring that included Gaston's mother, 43-year-old Gava Gaston, and Rickey's brother, Marty Rickey.
Their burglary spree spanned throughout southeast Kansas, southwest Missouri and northeast Oklahoma, according to officials.
According to records filed in Ottawa County, on the afternoon of Nov. 30, 2005, 95-year-old Mannford Miller heard someone rattling the door knob at his rural Quapaw home.
Miller told authorities he went to open the door and was shoved backwards by two men. According to Miller's statement, the two men entered his house and went into the living room where the larger of the two told Miller to “be still and you won't get hurt while the smaller male went into Miller's bedroom and took his wallet and some loose change. The men then left, leaving Miller unharmed, with approximately $5, three blank checks and a credit card.
Nedra Crowder of rural Wyandotte reported to authorities that two men came to her house on Nov. 18 wanting to do some home repairs. Crowder stated that she told the duo she did not need any repair work done.
“One of the male subjects then asked for a drink of water and when Mrs. Crowder went inside to get a glass of water the male subject followed her inside, Ottawa County Sheriff's Detective Dusty Goforth said. “The subject grabbed her by her left arm and told her to give him all her money right now.
Goforth reported that, while the first male subject was holding her, the other male entered her house and began going through her house.
Crowder told authorities the first male subject told her to sit down in the chair then said to her “if you move we will kill you.
Authorities say that the two men left Crowder's residence with a .22-caliber rifle, a jewelry box, miscellaneous jewelry, $40 in cash, a fur coat, an Elgin watch and other watches.
Gaston and Rickey both face charges for the Ottawa County burglaries.
Gaston was sentenced a year ago in Jasper County, Mo., to two five-year sentences. He was also sentenced to eight years in prison on charges in Newton County, Mo.
The Rickey brothers still face charges in Missouri and Kansas. Gava Gaston was sentenced to four years in prison on Jasper County charges.
The trial of James Rickey is scheduled to begin in Cherokee County next month.
on the charges he faces there in connection with Daniels' death.