Top Stories 2012: Former Rooks sheriff to face sentencing in January


STOCKTON -- When former Rooks County Sheriff Randy Axelson appears in court Jan. 15, there's likely to be a litany of witnesses urging probation.

How that falls won't be known until after all the testimony is given in the sentencing hearing, a full day set aside to give witnesses time to testify.

Ultimately, District Judge Ed Bouker will decide the sentence for Axelson, who pleaded guilty in July to four felony drug charges, two counts of distribution of methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of school property and two counts of distribution of methamphetamine.

The Stockton woman who received methamphetamine from Axelson was sentenced recently to three years community corrections after pleading to two counts of possession of methamphetamine and a single count of aggravated endangering a child.

Five remaining charges against Kara A. Horn were dismissed.

Axelson, 43, pleaded guilty to the four charges in late July, leaning forward four times, answering guilty to each of the four charges contained in the plea agreement.

That agreement, however, doesn't detail sentencing, other than a recommendation by Ellis County Attorney Tom Drees for a total sentence of 64 months in prison.

Drees was named a special prosecutor in the case.

Axelson's attorney, Kurt Kerns, Wichita, is expected to ask Bouker to depart from sentencing guidelines, for either a reduced sentence or probation.

"Randy made some mistakes," Kerns said after Axelson pleaded guilty, "and he didn't want to put his family or the community through a prolonged trial."

The plea agreement required Axelson to resign effective noon May 31, which he did.

While Axelson was arrested Dec. 30 following a week-long investigation by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, there's not a lot that has been made public.

Initially, he was charged with nine counts of felony methamphetamine distribution. Five of those charges were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.