Kanode sentenced for conspiracy to kill witnesses

A district judge sentenced Charles Kanode to 35 years in prison for attempting to arrange the murder of witnesses against him.
Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 6:57 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -A district judge sentenced Charles Kanode to 35 years in prison for attempting to arrange the murder of witnesses against him while he was held at the Nemaha County Jail in Auburn.

Prosecutors said a former inmate told authorities that Kanode attempted to hire him kill his ex-wife and her family members that might testify against him. Court records said Kanode had already paid another man $500 for the killing, but complained that the man was dragging his feet. The venue for the case was moved out of Nemaha County when allegations were also made that Kanode was attempting to hire the killing of the judge.

Defense attorneys said Kanode was a guard at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institute during the Mother’s Day riot of 2015, where two inmates convicted of crimes against children were murdered.

“As this matter unfolded Mr. Kanode was charged with 19 counts of child sexual assault,” said Allen Fankhauser, defense attorney. “He is no longer so charged. That it was so stated made a difference to Mr. Kanode’s mental state in this particular matter. This prompted the charges here. He was keenly aware of the longevity of child sexual predators in prison.”

He said Kanode estimated that, if convicted of sexual assault against a child, his time in prison would be no longer than the next riot.

Fankhauser asked for a sentence of three to four years.

Corey O’Brien of the Attorney General’s Office dismissed the defense argument that the murder plots were just jailhouse talk. He said there were bank records showing financial transactions and Kanode held a map of the layout of his ex-wife’s residence against the visitor window in the jail for a prospective hitman to see.

“No matter how scared anybody is that comes through the criminal justice system, the responses and underhanded attempts of Mr. Kanode openly talking about intimidating or eliminating witnesses so they could not testify against him is something the state can not ever condone,” O’Brien said. “Regardless of whether or not somebody is terrified of the outcome of their criminal case, the way that Mr. Kanode did in this case can not be tolerated and for that he needs to serve a substantial amount in jail.”

The judge sentenced Kanode to 18 to 24 months for unlawful photos, two to three years for child abuse and 18 to 20 years for conspiracy to murder. Judge Stefanie Martinez said all sentences will run consecutively for a total of 35 years. Kanode will not have to register as a sex offender.