WICHITA — A hearing for a wounded Army veteran charged with conspiring to harm members of a controversial Topeka church has been rescheduled for March 17.
The hearing _ to determine whether the case against Ryan Newell should go to trial _ had been set for Thursday in Sedgwick County District Court.
Newell has been accused of conspiring to harm members of Westboro Baptist Church. The Topeka church has been condemned because of its protests at soldiers' funerals. The church says the deaths are God's way of punishing America for tolerance of homosexuality.
On Nov. 30, Sedgwick County sheriff's detectives arrested Newell after his vehicle was found backed into a parking place outside Wichita City Hall while five Westboro members met with police officials about security concerns at church protests. He had a high-powered rifle, two handguns and more than 90 rounds of ammunition, sources have said.
Newell, 26, of Marion, is charged with conspiracy to commit aggravated battery, a felony, and five misdemeanors: stalking, three counts of criminal use of weapons and false impersonation.
Newell, an Army veteran who lost both legs while serving in Afghanistan, has been released from jail with the requirement that he report to the VA Hospital for treatment.