By MIKE CORN
District Judge Glenn Braun wouldn't hear of returning a number of guns and ammunition to a WaKeeney man recently placed on probation in connection with a pair of felony drug-related charges.
He also wouldn't hear of destroying the guns seized from John A. Reeder, 53, a Trego County resident who pleaded guilty in February to charges of distribution of marijuana and possession of methamphetamine. Reeder was president of the WaKeeney school board at the time of his arrest, as well as serving as appraiser for Trego County, a position he since has lost.
He originally was arrested in early January on a series of drug and weapons charges. Seven other charges were dismissed as a result of the plea agreement.
At a hearing Monday afternoon in the Ellis County Courthouse's biggest courtroom, Braun, the court reporter, and Trego County Sheriff Richard Hanks listened intently as attorneys argued the case via telephone.
Reeder's attorney, Michael S. Holland, Russell, argued for the guns to be returned to his client. Special Assistant Attorney General Kimberly King, Independence, argued otherwise.
In her objection to the return, King argued the move could result in additional charges being filed against Reeder.
Braun made his intentions clear early.
"I can assure you I'm not going to order the return of these weapons to Mr. Reeder," Braun said in response to an impassioned plea by King.
What he needed to know, however, was which weapons were included in the criminal forfeiture action.
A separate civil forfeiture action has been filed in Shawnee County District Court in Topeka, seeking the seizure of three guns, two pickups and a rural farmstead in the WaKeeney area.
After learning which guns were covered by the criminal action, Braun ordered the transfer of weapons to the sheriff's office for their use or disposal. All told, as many as 18 weapons will be going to the sheriff's office, including a number of handguns, rifles and shotguns.
The Shawnee County case covers $653 in cash, a 2003 Ford pickup and a 2009 Toyota pickup, two handguns and a rifle, in addition to 3.33 acres of land, all of which is valued at slightly more than $60,000.