Misty Salem was sentenced today to 21 years in prison for the March 10, 2016 murder of her ex-husband Sam Salem at their residence in Stafford.
Emotions were high Friday in Stafford County District Court during sentencing for Misty Salem who was found guilty of murder in the second degree for the murder of her ex-husband Sam Salem on March 10, 2016 at their residence in Stafford.
Senior District Judge John Sanders sentenced Salem to 253 months (21 years and one month) with the possibility of a 15 percent reduction for good behavior. She will receive credit for the 82 days she has already served. Upon release, Salem faces 36 months (three years) of supervision and has to register as a violent offender wherever she decides to live, Sanders said.
Before sentencing, defense attorney Monique Centeno had filed for acquittal in the case and a new trial because the prosecution hadn't met the requirements for a guilty verdict. Centeno said the jury was misled by the KBI trajectory evidence and that Misty's behavior during the trial had worked against her.
Prosecuting attorney Will Manly said Salem was not legally entitled to a motion of acquittal and there was no basis for a new trial. Judge Sanders agreed and denied the motions.
Centeno also presented a motion to have the number of months in the sentencing reduced and a motion to give probation instead of prison time. She said Salem's past had only misdemeanor convictions and she hadn't left while waiting for trial even though she was free on bail. This should result in 100 fewer months of sentencing.
She said Salem had Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, was a victim of domestic violence, was a substance abuser and all should be considered when sentencing. Salem is remorseful and not a danger to the community, Centeno said.
Manly said there was no case where a person convicted of murder in the second degree receiving a reduced sentence.
Sanders took a five minute recess to review the motion and then said he could find nothing that warranted reduction of sentence and denied the motion.
"There is no substantial or compelling reasons to depart from sentencing guidelines," Sanders said.
Prosecution did present one witness, Dr. Frederick Farmer, who testified the Salem had tested positive for methamphetamine and three other drugs on July 14. Judge Sanders did uphold Centeno's objection to letting Farmer testify about his conversation with Salem during that examination.
Following sentencing, family members were given time to speak. Several members of Sam's family gave statements. Salem kept her hands over her ears during their speeches and didn't look at them.
During the public statements, members of Salem's family were talking and at one point a law enforcement officer spoke directly to one family member and said "Knock it off or you're leaving."
When Sam's aunt Sharon Ochs started the public speeches, she said the date of the murder was embedded in her head forever. Ochs said it was incomprehensible to Salem's son how her mother could murder his father and the only answer was it was pure hate and evil. Salem's actions had left their son Braden without a father. Sam was not perfect but he didn't deserve execution, Ochs said.
"What you have done to the family is unimaginable," Ochs said.
Sam's father David Salem said it was hard to hear Braden (Misty and Sam's son) say he wanted his dad back. "You have put fear in a 10-year-old's life," David said. Salem sobbed when she heard these words.
Sam's mother, Renee Salem, said Salem had reshaped many lives by taking Sam's life. Renee said her actions caused Braden to be fearful. Renee said she begged Sam to not go back to Misty but she thought he did it to protect Braden. "You killed him," Renee said.
Misty's sister Angie Seck spoke on behalf of her sister. She said Misty was not perfect and most of the people in the courtroom were not present when the shooting took place. She said Sam had yelled at her and called her horrible names.
Judge Sanders asked Misty if she had anything to say and she said no.
Salem was also ordered to pay court costs of $193, funeral costs of $13,668, plus a $200 DNA fee and a defense attorney fee that was waived.
Centeno said she would file an appeal on the sentencing and a Kansas Appellate attorney would review the trial and file a brief on any errors that may have taken place during the trial. The process can take two years before it comes up before the court of appeals, Centeno said.
Also representing the prosecution was Assistant Attorney General Adam Zenter.