Crime

Life in prison for burglar who killed two Lenexa men in their home

Alex Brune, 29, was sentenced Monday to life in prison for stabbing to death Clifford Preston and Brian Baskind in their home in 2014. Brune pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder earlier this year.
Alex Brune, 29, was sentenced Monday to life in prison for stabbing to death Clifford Preston and Brian Baskind in their home in 2014. Brune pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder earlier this year. Johnson County Sheriff’s Office

A 29-year-old man was sentenced Monday to life in prison for killing two Lenexa men in 2014 after he broke into their home and tried to rob them.

Alex Wayne Brune, also of Lenexa, was sentenced in Johnson County District Court where he pleaded guilty earlier this year to two counts of first-degree murder for the stabbing deaths of Brian Baskind and Clifford Preston.

District Judge Sara Welch followed the recommendation of prosecutors and sentenced Brune to consecutive life sentences. He will have to serve 50 years in prison before being eligible for parole.

Baskind, 47, and his 79-year-old stepfather, Clifford Preston, were fatally stabbed July 9, 2014, inside their home in the 8500 block of Hallet Street.

Brune was shot by one of the men during the altercation. He called 911 and was found by Lenexa police outside the residence. Baskind and Preston were found dead in the home’s basement.

Assistant District Attorney Sarah Hill said prosecutors think Brune, who was experiencing financial problems, made plans to rob someone and followed Baskind home when Brune saw him driving his Mercedes-Benz convertible.

She said Brune was armed with a large knife and an airsoft gun painted to look like a real firearm. He was also wearing a mask and dressed in black.

Hill said it was “chilling” that Brune knew someone was inside the home when he broke in by cutting a hole in a window screen.

She said Baskind and Preston were innocent victims who were just living their lives when they were attacked inside their own home.

Brune initially told investigating officers that he had been kidnapped from his home and taken to the house on Hallet, where he found a large knife and stabbed both men during an escape attempt. Brune told police that he was shot during the struggle.

Only later, on the cusp of going to trial, did he tell the truth, Hill said. Because he took two lives, she argued, Brune deserved consecutive sentences.

Brune asked the judge for leniency and asked her to impose concurrent sentences. He said he was sorry for the “horrible, horrible mistake.”

“I know I’ve done wrong, but I’m asking for the opportunity to have a life after I’ve paid my debt,” he said.

Defense attorney Courtney Henderson also asked the judge to impose the sentences concurrently.

He noted that even though Brune would have a chance of parole after serving 25 years if the sentences were concurrent, there was no guarantee he would be released at that time.

Sentencing Brune to consecutive sentences would essentially ensure that he would die in prison, Henderson said.

In ordering the consecutive sentences, Welch told Brune that he killed his victims in a particularly brutal manner and then “to save your own skin” concocted a story that portrayed them as the perpetrators.

Tony Rizzo: 816-234-4435, @trizzkc

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