District Judge David Stutzman sentenced Daniel Brewer to two concurrent 12 to 20 year terms Monday for the 1981 rapes of Alice Burnett Crowley and Arta Kroeplin. The decision overrode the plea agreement Brewer entered into that included a recommendation for a suspended imposition of sentencing for five years, during which Brewer would be placed under house arrest in New York.
Stutzman told those in attendance that he did not consider the recommendation — which he indicated he viewed as equivalent to 5-year house arrest as being a period of probation to be sufficient. He described the attacks as horrible rapes with physical injuries, and said they required that a sentence be imposed immediately.
“The seriousness of the crimes controls,” he said.
Brewer had entered into the plea bargain, presented by Christine Ladner, a Kansas assistant attorney general, in July. But Stutzman had stressed from the beginning that he would not be bound to it. As a part of the agreement, Brewer pleaded guilty to the rape of Kroeplin, a 75-year-old Ogden woman, and no contest to the rape of Crowley.
Prior to the sentencing, Crowley and two granddaughters of Arta Kroeplin addressed the court, all calling for Brewer to receive prison time.
“Thirty years, nine months, 16 days ago, I was violently and brutally raped,” Crowley said. “I knew then as I do now that the man who committed this heinous crime was Daniel Brewer.” She told the court that “before, during and after this crime, [Brewer] called me and threatened my life.” Brewer was tried twice in 1981 for that crime, but both trials resulted in hung juries.
Crowley said that she did not believe house arrest was a proper punishment for his crimes and that he should spend the rest of his life in prison regardless of his health issues.
She asked Stutzman to “allow [his] victims to receive the justice we deserve.”
Connie Hobbs, a granddaughter of Arta Kroeplin, noted that Brewer raped her grandmother when she was recovering from colon cancer. She said Kroeplin became a shell of herself after the rape, and though she lived 10 years afterward, she was never the same.
Hobbs said Kroeplin acted like she was in prison and would nail the doors and windows of her house shut. She said that she knew the cost of maintaining Brewer’s health would be high, but it would be worth it for her grandmother’s peace of mind.
Another granddaughter, Patsy Meyer, told the court she had “anguished over what she endured that night,” and added that “I continue to pray for the healing of my heart.”
Also in the audience was Eddie Lowery, who spent 10 years wrongly incarcerated for the rape of Arta Kroeplin. Lowery, who was a soldier at Fort Riley, said police targeted him because on the same night of the rape, he had been involved in a car accident. He said police concluded that he crashed while trying to get away from the rape scene.
Lowery said that after a “brutal” police interrogation, he gave a false confession to the crime. He was released from jail in 1991, and exonerated by DNA evidence in 2003.
Lowery later sued the RCPD, other local entities and two detectives. The sides eventually settled out of court for $7.5 million.
Lowery said he was very happy with Stutzman’s decision. “My goal, my dream, was always to see this man sentenced,” he said. “I think justice has been served.” Lowery visited with Kroeplin’s granddaughters at the sentencing, receiving a personal apology for what he had gone through. He told them he did not consider their grandmother to have been at fault for his wrongful conviction. Although the victim had testified at Lowery‘s trial, she never identified her attacker, noting that she had been asleep and her face had been covered during the attack.
During the sentencing, Larry McRell, Brewer’s attorney, tried to argue that Brewer’s multiple health issues have already imprisoned him. Brewer’s ailments include diabetes, hepatitis, kidney failure, high blood pressure and a history of strokes.
McRell said that Brewer goes to dialysis three times a week and lies in bed otherwise. “He wakes up, he sleeps, he medicates. He wakes up, he sleeps, he medicates,” he said. “He doesn’t much live as much as he exists.”
McRell said he didn’t know “if there is anything more to do to Mr. Brewer to punish him,” and that Brewer, “[would] not resume a life of comfort or enjoyment,” were he to be given house arrest. He argued that Brewer was not only imprisoned within his own frail body but had already been incarcerated in the court of public opinion.
After the sentencing, Brewer declined to sign court documents acknowledging that he would be placed on the sex offender’s registry. Stutzman told Brewer that violation of registration is a separate offense, but Brewer responded that he already been given his death sentence.
McRell Tuesday morning filed a motion seeking probation and/or a downward modification of the sentence with the district court.