Courts & Crime

Vet pleads guilty to lesser charges in Westboro stalking case

WICHITA — An Army veteran charged with stalking and conspiring to harm members of a controversial Topeka church pleaded guilty to lesser charges this morning, his attorney said.

Ryan Newell pleaded guilty in Sedgwick County District Court to two counts of false impersonation of an officer — each "non-person" misdemeanors. He is receiving a six-month sentence on each count but is being released on a two- year probation, said his attorney, Boyd McPherson.

"We had been working on a resolution for... six months," McPherson said. "I think both the District Attorney's Office and I wanted to feel comfortable that the case was at a point where it could be disposed of."

Newell, who lost both legs in Afghanistan, had been charged with felony conspiracy to commit aggravated battery and these misdemeanors: stalking, unlawful use of a weapon and false impersonation.

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