• Last modified 1585 days ago (April 22, 2015)


Newell gets 177 months

Former county dispatcher and Santa Claus impersonator Kenneth Newell held a blank expression as he was sentenced Monday to 177 months (14 years and nine months) in prison for two counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child under 14 years of age.

Newell pleaded guilty in March as part of a plea agreement in which 11 other counts were dropped.

Jennifer Stegman, Newell’s ex-wife and the victim’s mother, fought back tears as she asked District Judge Mike Powers to impose the maximum sentence despite Newell’s lack of a criminal history.

Stegman said Newell had been in her daughter’s life since she was 3 years old, and was like a father to her. She described the effects the abuse had on her daughter and held up a picture of her for Judge Powers to see. Newell could have seen the picture as well from where he sat, but did not turn his head.

Defense attorney Stephen Afferton had asked for a reduced sentence, given Newell’s record, but Powers granted a reduced sentence on only one of the two charges, adding 57 months to Newell’s sentence.

Newell will receive credit for time served. He has been jailed in McPherson since Dec. 23. Sheriff Robert Craft elected to hold Newell outside the county because of his former employment with the county and specifically his work with the sheriff’s department.

Assistant Attorney General Melissa Johnson prosecuted the case. It was investigated by the Marion Police Department and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the county sheriff’s office and the Exploited and Missing Child Unit in Wichita.

Last modified April 22, 2015