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Former Kansas doctor charged with gun violation

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- A convicted felon's ill-fated plan to give a bondsman a gun as payment for getting out of jail in a domestic case backfired, as prosecutors charged the former Kansas physician Monday with a federal firearms violation.

Lawrence M. Simons, 57, remained in federal custody facing one count of unlawful possession of a firearm after a felony conviction.

Simons, of Wichita, once worked as a physician at Schneider Medical Clinic in Haysville. Its owners, Stephen and Linda Schneider, are serving long sentences after being convicted in 2010 in a moneymaking conspiracy linked to the overdose deaths of 68 patients.

Simons pleaded guilty to unlawfully distributing controlled substances after he was fired from the Haysville clinic. He was sentenced in January 2010 to two years in prison followed by three years' probation.

He completed his prison time last year and had been free on supervised release when he was arrested and charged in Sedgwick County District Court on April 10 with one count of making a criminal threat in an unrelated domestic violence case.

The Justice Department alleges Simons give a .32-caliber pistol and ammunition as partial payment on the $2,500 a Wichita bonding company paid for bailing him out of the Sedgwick County Detention Center in the criminal threat case.

His defense attorneys in the federal and state cases did not immediately return phone messages left for comment.

Simons made his first court appearance Monday in U.S. District Court in Kansas on the gun case. A federal magistrate judge ordered him to remain jailed pending a formal detention hearing on May 15. A preliminary hearing to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to take the gun case to trial was also set for May 24, unless as expected a federal grand jury hands down an indictment before then.

Simons also faces a May 23 preliminary hearing in the state criminal threat case.