Crime & Courts

Probation for Kansas man who threatened meter worker with shotgun

File photo
File photo File photo

A Reno County man convicted of threatening with a shotgun a Westar Energy contractor last year received a year’s probation in the case on Friday.

Marc Miller, 66, apologized to the court and to the county during the sentencing before District Judge Trish Rose, noting, “I was on steroids.”

He offered no apology for the victim, who was not present, or Westar.

Miller’s attorney, Stan Juhnke, described the March 22, 2016, incident as “a series of bad events” for Miller, who, he said, was asleep and on oxygen for breathing troubles when the electricity shut off.

“He was startled and scared and things went downhill from there,” Juhnke said. “It was something he didn’t intend to happen.”

Miller confronted Brent Bunting, 61, of Hutchinson, who was changing out residential meters, and ordered him to put the meter back.

When Bunting declined and started to walk away with the meter, Miller stepped out of his house with a shotgun and said to Bunting he could not leave. He did allow Bunting to call his supervisor, who called 911.

Miller, originally charged with aggravated assault and criminal restraint, pleaded last month to the lesser charge of criminal threat and criminal restraint, both carrying presumptive probation since Miller has no prior criminal record.

“The fact you had a gun handy and wielded it is of concern to the court,” Rose said. “I hope you are recovering.”

Rose sentenced Miller to six months on each count, to run concurrently, and granted a year’s probation through Court Services.

Coincidentally, another man convicted of attacking a different meter changer two weeks before the incident with Miller is set to be back in court this week on allegations he violated his probation in that case for a second time.

District Judge Tim Chambers sentenced Kerry Getz, 62, last July to six months in prison for criminal threat, but also granted him a year’s probation.

Chambers revoked, but then reinstated the probation in November, ordering Getz at that time to get counseling.

Prosecutors originally charged Getz with aggravated battery, aggravated assault and criminal damage to property for a March incident, during which he repeatedly rammed the contract worker’s truck and attempted to force him off the road after the contractor had installed a new smart meter on his rural home.

Getz is on the docket for a revocation hearing Friday.

Details of the alleged violations were not immediately available.