Gunnels ordered to complete drug rehab program

Sunday, September 24, 2006

By Michael Glover


FORT SCOTT, Kan. -- A judge on Friday ordered a Fort Scott man to complete a drug treatment program in Johnson County, warning him that it is his last chance to straighten up or he'll be spending time in prison.

Bourbon County District judge pro tem Harry Warren, sitting in for an absent Gerald Hart, sentenced 41-year-old Bobby E. Gunnels to enter the drug program at Johnson County Community Corrections.

Gunnels' attorney Jason Wiske told the judge his client has a drug problem and recommended he be placed in the program where he might be rehabilitated, rather than sending him to prison without the availability of getting help.

The state did not object to the recommendation, agreeing with Wiske that the program could be beneficial and asked Warren to order Gunnels to complete the program, Bourbon County Attorney Terri Johnson told the judge.

"This is your last chance Mr. Gunnels," Warren said, "or you'll be spending time in jail correcting your drug problem."

Gunnels pleaded guilty to felony theft on July 27, after being charged with burglary, theft and criminal damage stemming from a crime committed this past spring in Fort Scott.

Around 3:20 p.m., April 26, Fort Scott Police responded to a vacant home at First and Little streets. An anonymous source contacted police and said two suspects were burglarizing the home, apparently stealing an undetermined amount of aluminum scrap metal.

Police arrested Gunnels and his acquaintance, Tracy Barksdale, also of Fort Scott, for burglary, theft and criminal damage to property.

Gunnels has a long history of offenses dating back to the early 1990s in Crawford and Bourbon counties.

His criminal activities in Fort Scott escalated last year, leading to his being arrested multiple times for various crimes including breaking into area lumber yards and stealing power tools and scrap metal. He also was arrested and charged for burglarizing newspaper vending machines owned by The Fort Scott Tribune by prying open the money slot trays and stealing the quarters. He was charged in connection with those crimes, pleaded guilty and sentenced to probation.

Warren acknowledged Gunnels' long criminal history, then wished him good luck in the program.

Gunnels was transported by the county to a facility in Johnson County where he was in custody immediately prior to Friday's hearing.

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