A 22-year-old Wichita woman will spend more than 15 years in prison for taking part in the killing of a 47-year-old man who reportedly begged for his life as he was beaten and left to die in a car trunk.
Ariana Cook pleaded no contest on Nov. 21 to counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit aggravated kidnapping in the July 2020 death of Roy Hayden of Wichita, court records show. In the amended charges, prosecutors said Cook “retrieved (a) hammer to use to strike” Hayden, “directed conduct” of a least one attacker, “ordered restraint of (the) victim and retrieved multiple items to assist.”
Wichita police have said Hayden was beaten in the head with a hammer and crowbar, punched, shot in the knee and choked on July 1 or 2, 2020, during an hours-long assault at 840 S. San Pablo, an apartment near Lincoln and Woodlawn where Cook reportedly lived with her boyfriend. The attack was tied to drugs and may have lasted eight hours, according to police, after Hayden refused to submit to a sex act and follow other orders, apparently to prove he wasn’t a cop.
After the beating, Hayden’s attackers shoved him in the trunk of a Volvo that was later abandoned in the 1500 block of North Broadway, police have said. When authorities found the car four days later, they discovered his bound body inside, with plastic trash bags covering his head, according to an affidavit released by the court.
An autopsy determined Hayden died from asphyxiation.
On Monday, Sedgwick County District Judge Sean Hatfield sentenced Cook to 184 months in prison, said Dan Dillon, a spokesman for the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office. In doing so, the judge denied a request for probation from Cook’s lawyer, who said in a written motion that childhood trauma and abuse led Cook to years of drug addiction, starting with daily marijuana use at age 11.
By 18, she was using methamphetamine. The habit continued daily for 2 1/2 years, the motion says.
“Ms. Cook is extremely remorseful and wholeheartedly regrets getting involved with the individuals who ended Roy Hayden’s life,” the lawyer wrote, adding that she “is committed to leaving her old life behind and continuing on her path of recovery.”
Cook was originally charged with first-degree felony murder and aggravated kidnapping but had her charges amended as part of plea negotiations with prosecutors.
Of her co-defendants:
Lawrence Bailey is scheduled for jury trial in June on counts of first-degree felony murder, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated battery and criminal possession of a weapon by a felon.
Jose Garcia-Martinez, 22, is serving 25 years to life in prison plus 13 months. A jury convicted him last May of first-degree felony murder, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated battery and misdemeanor battery.
Carlos Saldana-Delgado is scheduled for sentencing March 31. He pleaded guilty in March 2021 to kidnapping and aggravated battery. Prosecutors plan to ask for a prison sentence, according to his plea agreement.
Matthew Small, 37, who is Cook’s boyfriend, is charged with first-degree felony murder, aggravated kidnapping and three counts of criminal possession of a weapon by a felon. He’s awaiting trial. His next court hearing, a status conference, is Feb. 3, records show.