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Felony charge for vet accused of targeting Westboro

WICHITA, Kan. | Segdwick County prosecutors have added a new felony charge against a 26-year-old wounded veteran accused of targeting members of a Topeka church known for protesting at soldiers' funerals.

Ryan Newell of Marion was charged Thursday with five misdemeanor counts for allegedly following members of the Westboro Baptist Church after a protest in Mulvane on Tuesday.

On Friday, prosecutors added the felony of conspiracy to commit aggravated battery, accusing Newell of engaging in a conspiracy in which firearms were obtained and put in his vehicle and taken to a place where church members gathered.

Newell's lawyer, Boyd McPherson, said he's working to get Newell out of jail. He's held on $500,000 bond.

Church members protest at soldiers' funerals, saying they feel U.S. soldiers' deaths are God's punishment for American immorality.

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