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Hays man faces federal charges

9/27/2007

By MIKE CORN

Hays Daily News

A Hays man is being held without bond pending a trial on federal charges stemming from a pipe bomb found in May on a pickup truck in Lawrence.

The federal charges are in addition to a series of drug-related charges filed in Ellis County District Court.

No trial date has been set for Donald E. Parsons, 56, Hays, in connection with the federal case. A federal judge Tuesday ordered him held without bail on the five federal charges.

The charges include using a pipe bomb in a crime of violence, unlawful possession of a pipe bomb, a count of unlawfully receiving explosives with intent to kill a person and damage property and a count of using a pipe bomb to commit a felony. If convicted, he could be sentenced to more than 30 years in prison.

In Ellis County District Court, he was charged with felony drug charges, possession of hydrocodone, oxycodone, codeine, ephedrine and phenobarbitol, according to Ellis County Attorney Tom Drees.

The Ellis County charges were filed on the signature of a Lawrence police detective who was investigating the incident involving the pipe bomb.

Those charges were filed May 24, stemming from the discovery of the drugs May 21 as officers executed a search warrant at his residence. The federal investigation apparently also involved an Osborne County farm.

Parsons was indicted by a federal grand jury Sept. 12. He subsequently was arrested Sept. 20. He appeared in federal court in Kansas City for a detention hearing, at which time he was remanded to jail.

In the federal case, Parsons is being charged in connection with an incident May 16, when Lawrence police were notified of a pipe bomb under a pickup truck parked in the East Hills Business Park. The victim, who lives in Topeka, found the device as he was leaving work.

Ultimately, the Overland Park bomb squad detonated the device, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

It was at the detention hearing that U.S. District Magistrate Judge Gerald Rushfelt "heard evidence from Lawrence detective Michael McAtee that Parsons had been upset because a woman had broken up with him in order to date the intended victim," the release states.

As well, Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms Agent Charles Backer told of a search by law enforcement of a rural Osborne County farm owned by Parsons and his family. Becker said he found what appeared to be a "post-blast scene where he believed a similar device was detonated under an abandoned vehicle."

Parsons was a former Kansas Department of Health and Environment employee responsible for inspecting restaurants and hotels and motels. He had been based out of Hays until his employment ended June 2, according to KDHE spokesman Joe Blubaugh. Parsons started working for the department March 3, 1991.

Other than providing his position and starting and ending employment dates, Blubaugh declined comment. He would not say the reason for Parsons' departure or if he was terminated.

In the Ellis County case, trial has been scheduled for Feb. 7. He waived his preliminary hearing July 19 and pleaded not guilty Sept. 17 at his arraignment. He has since been released on $50,000 bond, Drees said.

Special-projects coordinator Mike Corn can be reached at (785) 628-1081, Ext. 129, or by e-mail at mcorn@dailynews.net.