Driver sentenced to 14-plus years in pedestrian's death

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TOPEPKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- A motorist who ran down a pedestrian, dragging the victim under an SUV, was sentenced Wednesday to more than 14 years in prison.

Alexis Krystel Nolte, 21, had pleaded guilty to reckless second-degree murder in the slaying of Robin Ann Kuebler, 25, failure to stop at an accident, and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, all on Sept. 21.

Shawnee County District Court Judge Mark Braun sentenced Nolte to 10 years and three months on the murder conviction, two years and 10 months for the failure to stop count, and one year and one month for the aggravated assault count. That totals 14 years and two months. Nolte received credit for 218 days served in jail since the homicide.

Nolte received the highest sentences possible for each conviction. Prior to these convictions, Nolte didn't have a criminal history.

In seeking the sentences for Nolte, Deputy District Attorney Brett Watson said Nolte had lied when she told police she wasn't driving the SUV that struck Kuebler, that another person was the motorist.

The judge said the aggravated sentences imposed on Nolte "are fitting" in this case.

"There is nothing this court can do to fix or to make the family whole in Robin Kuebler's death," Braun said.

The judge noted Kuebler's young age, that she was working her first job, and she was about to be married.

Her death "is difficult to deal with, and it's something that never goes away," Braun said.

On Wednesday, Kuebler's family and friends expressed the loss they feel.

"She was the kind of person who would have said I should have gotten out of the way," said Bethany Bell, the victim's best friend. "She would be mad at us for not forgiving" Nolte.

Jordan Green, Kuebler's fiancee, said, "Ours is a rewinding nightmare."

Green described Kuebler as "kind, honest and good," who loved everyone. Kuebler was her soul mate, Green said.

One of Kuebler’s relatives made remarks to Kuebler about being a lesbian, Green said.

Public Defender Stacey Donovan, Nolte's defense attorney, said her client declined to speak Wednesday. Nolte wrote a letter to the victim's family saying she hoped the family could find peace and apologizing to family members.

Nolte wanted Kuebler's family to know she never said anything about Kuebler's sexuality, Donovan said.

During Nolte's preliminary hearing on May 23, several witnesses testified they saw a Ford SUV run over Kuebler at about 7:30 p.m. on April 3 in the 700 block of S.W. Western.

A witness saw the SUV strike Nolte who was in the apartment parking lot.
The female driver “hit her, took aim and drove over her,” the witness said.

The SUV had “more than enough room to go around her," the witness said.

Green testified she witnessed Kuebler's death.

Before Kuebler was struck, Green and Nolte had exchanged words. Kuebler was standing in the middle of the pavement when the Explorer driver floored the SUV and struck her, Green said.

Kuebler first was on the Explorer hood, then she was sucked up under the vehicle, Green said. Kuebler was dead at the scene, Green said.