Hey Fred, how does it feel to be harrassed?
Ryan Newell is “Army to the bone,” friends and family say of the decorated military veteran who joined the service at 17, lost both legs in an explosion in Afghanistan and now stands accused of stalking members of a controversial Topeka church.
Proud of his service and proud of his country, he never blamed anyone for his injuries and felt guilty, his grandmother said, that he survived when two of his brothers in combat did not.
Prosecutors charged Newell, 26, with five misdemeanors Thursday, including stalking and three counts of criminal use of a firearm in an incident involving the (Fred) Phelps family of Topeka’s Westboro Baptist Church. He also was charged with false impersonation of a law enforcement officer.
The Phelps family often protests at military funerals, saying that the deaths of soldiers are God’s way of punishing the country for homosexuality.
“I knew he detested those guys that protested against the GIs that got killed, which I don’t blame him there. I do, too…. It was their freedom he was protecting, too,” said Newell’s grandfather, Jim Crosby, though he noted they had never discussed the Phelps family.
Sedgwick County sheriff’s detectives arrested Newell mid-morning Tuesday in the Wichita City Hall parking lot after a detective saw him following a van that carried Westboro church members.
The church members were meeting in City Hall with police officials. Detectives found Newell in a vehicle backed into a parking space. In the vehicle, investigators found two handguns, a rifle and more than 90 rounds of ammunition, sources have said.
The stalking charge accuses Newell of actions targeted at Westboro members and putting them in fear for their safety.
The weapons charges accuse him of unlawfully carrying and concealing or possessing with “intent to use” an M4 rifle, .45-caliber Glock handgun and .38-caliber Smith and Wesson handgun.
Newell received many medals for his service, including the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, his grandfather said.
“He was very proud of those.”
His grandmother said Newell “felt that being in the Army was the best thing he could have done.”
“I can understand, I think partly, what I felt when those people were out there yelling…” she said of Westboro members. “I don’t particularly like them going to funerals. I can understand why he didn’t like that. Because he went to go do a job, and he lost his legs doing that job.”
Newell lost his legs when an improvised bomb exploded while he was serving in Afghanistan in 2008.
Many veterans, including me, are fed up with the likes of Phelps and his merry band of shitbags showing up at Soldier’s funerals and waving signs that read “Thank God for IEDs” and “God Hates Fags”.
I’m agnostic but I hope Phelps rots in hell. Outside of radical muslims and far left Dems, he’s one of the most despicable pieces of human excrement on the planet.
Somehow I don’t think the states “case” against Newell will get very far.