Hearing continued for vet accused of stalking funeral protesters

WICHITA - A preliminary hearing for a disabled Army veteran accused of stalking members of a Topeka church was continued to March 31, court officials said today.

Ryan Newell was scheduled for preliminary hearing Thursday in Sedgwick County District Court, at which the state would have had to present evidence supporting charges against him.

Newell - who lost both legs while serving in Afghanistan - is charged with felony conspiracy to commit aggravated battery and five misdemeanors.

The Marion man was arrested Nov. 30 after sheriff's detectives found his vehicle parked outside Wichita City Hall while five Westboro Baptist Church members met with police inside.

Westboro members protest military funerals, claiming soldier deaths are God's punishment for the nation's tolerance of homosexuality.

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