Judgment delayed: Plea deal falls apart in Kullman case
REED CITY — Former Evart High School principal Alan Kullman was scheduled to be sentenced Friday in Osceola County’s 49th Circuit Court after pleading guilty to first-degree criminal sexual conduct.
He wasn’t. Not yet.
In a case that has shaken the Evart community and school district, Kullman was arrested in June and charged with three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a 14-year-old female student. That same month, he resigned from his position at Evart High School.
Later, the former educator had entered a guilty plea to one of the three charges against him. The charge carries a maximum life sentence. But a disagreement between the defense and prosecution in “scoring” for the sentencing now has the case returning to the settlement conference stage.
“We were not happy with the way the scoring turned out, so we withdrew our sentencing offer,” said Osceola County Prosecutor James Sims II.
During the sentence scoring process, designed to create sentencing guidelines, attorneys on both sides of a case evaluate a person’s prior record, the crime committed, the severity of the crime and other factors relevant to the case.
“Originally, the assistant prosecutor and the defense attorney had come to an agreement on where the sentencing would be,” Sims said. “When we arrived in court today, the numbers were much different than what we had expected. There was too great a difference to go on with sentencing. We withdrew our offer and now we’ll reopen discussions with the defense and see where this ends up.”
Sims said differences in scoring numbers, and the need to – in effect – drop back and start anew sometimes happens. Kullman’s case will be rescheduled on the court docket, and attorneys from both sides will reopen negotiations.
“Either we will reach a new plea agreement, or the case will go to trial,” Sims said.