Woman released after bond reduced from $1M to $5,000

By Tim Weideman

A Manhattan woman accused of aiding her son in a September 2013 murder was released from jail earlier this week after her bond was reduced from $1 million to $5,000.

Deputy Riley County District Attorney Barry Disney Friday afternoon confirmed that 50-year-old Christina Love was released on Tuesday after she posted bond. Love still is scheduled to stand trial on June 2 in connection with the death of 68-year-old John Burroughs Jr.

“I am comfortable with the reduction of bond, given the evidence that has come out at the preliminary hearing,” Disney said in a phone interview. “The original bond was set prior to the preliminary hearing and, now that we’ve had testimony and had the judge review all the evidence, we’re satisfied with the bond amount that the judge granted.”

Love’s release came a day after she appeared in court for a status hearing. During that hearing, District Judge Meryl Wilson granted her request for a continuation to May 5 at 3:30 p.m.

Jason Hoffman, Love’s attorney, said the reason for the continuation was that more time was needed to review new materials in the case before going through pre-trial motions. Hoffman was unavailable for comment Friday, a spokesperson from his office in Topeka said.

Before Love’s release, she had been confined in Riley County Jail since Sept. 11. That night, police arrested her and her son, James McKenith, 33, on suspicion of first-degree murder.

Love’s charge was later changed to aiding and abetting first-degree murder. She is accused of driving her son to Burroughs’ home at the Redbud Estates trailer court and witnessing McKenith stabbing Burroughs.

Love’s original bond was set by Wilson. Disney said the County Attorney’s Office believes the decision to reduce her bond was fair, considering the evidence presented during her preliminary hearing.

“We think it’s commensurate with her participation in the crime,” he said.

On March 19, McKenith pleaded no contest to first-degree murder and was found guilty by Wilson. He’s set for sentencing at the same time as Love’s next hearing.

Prosecutors have said McKenith stabbed Burroughs after another suspect, Anthony Nichols, of Kansas City, Kan., shot but failed to kill Burroughs.

Nichols is also accused of first-degree murder in the death of Anthony Nixon, 37, of Junction City. The two killings happened in the same general time period. Nixon died in the early morning hours of Sept. 7.

Nichols is confined in Geary County. He’s scheduled to appear in Geary County District Court on April 22.

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