Kansas man pleads guilty to poker beating

A 26-year-old man from Hutchinson, Kansas, has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and kidnapping in the death of a fellow poker player, Kansas.com reported today. Robert Blanchette admitted to beating Matthew Schrag, 23, to death with a baseball bat on January 23, 2006, following a poker game.

Court documents say Blanchette felt he had been cheated in a late night poker game hosted at Schrag's home, and returned to ask for a refund of a percentage of the money he had lost.

According to Kansas.com, Blanchette "forced his way in and knocked Schrag down with the bat, then stabbed him in the throat with a knife...Schrag ran to a bedroom, where Jennifer Vogts had fallen asleep, with Blanchette following and continuing the beating."

Schrag died in his home that night. Jennifer Vogts was not harmed.

Blanchette was initially charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping, aggravated burglary, and aggravated robbery. The latter two charges were dropped as part of a deal proposed by Reno County Attorney Keith Schroeder.

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