Jordan Kuykendall of Columbia appeared Wednesday in front of Judge Richard Aguirre at the Monroe County Courthouse, where his attorney entered an intent to plead guilty but mentally ill. He will next be evaluated by a psychiatrist provided by the state, and will be back in court at 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 19.
Kuykendall is charged with first-degree murder in the June 27, 2013 stabbing death of his 17-year-old ex-girlfriend, Erin Schneider, inside the home he was residing with his brother at 237 South Riebeling Street in Columbia. He has been in custody at the Monroe County Jail in Waterloo for 16 months.
Last month, Schneider’s family filed a wrongful death civil lawsuit against Kuykendall, his mother, Rachel Munro, and brother, Justin Kuykendall. In the suit, they allege Jordan has a “history of mental problems and bizarre and menacing behavior” of which both his brother and mother were “well aware” and yet they allowed him to “live reclusively in the basement.
The Schneiders seek in excess of $50,000 in damages on all counts.
If the court accepts Kuykendall’s plea, he will be sentenced immediately, and sentencing guidelines are the same as for a regular first-degree murder conviction – from a minimum of 20 years to a maximum of life. Entering the plea of guilty but mentally ill will ensure Kuykendall receives mental health care while he is incarcerated.