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County billed for Bellendir case
Bill from special prosecutor over $8,000
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Barton County Sheriff Brian Bellendir makes a statement following his acquittal on a misdemeanor charge last November. Bills for that trial are coming due. - photo by Tribune file photo

Bills are coming due for the Sheriff Brian Bellendir trial on misdemeanor charges last November in Barton County District court, according to information from the Barton County Clerk’s Office.

• Barton County has received a bill from Chase County Attorney William Halvorsen, the Cottonwood Falls special prosecutor appointed to handle the state’s case against Bellendir. The tab came to $8,837.77.

According to a copy of the statement received from the Clerk’s Office, the total included 93.2 hours of work at $80 per hour. That came to $7,456.

The bill, dated Dec. 27, 2019, reads: “Reviewed investigative file; met with investigators; prepared Complaint; multiple conferences, plea negotiations, etc. with defense counsel; multiple hearings; multiple motion prep and response to multiple motions; multiple email preps and responses; preparation for multiple hearings; research· preparation of subpoenas; preparation of objections to subpoenas; preparation of response to defense subpoenas; witness interviews; witness preparation for trial; multiple telephone calls; travel to and from bearings and witness interviews; preparation of pleadings and journal entries; prepared multiple briefs; preparation for voir dire; preparation of jury instructions; jury selection; jury trial.”

In addition, there were related expenses.

These included: Six round trips totaling 1,402 miles at 50 cents per mile – $701; and lodging totalling four nights in one room at the Best Western, Great Bend, for Halvorsen, and three nights at the hotel for his trial assistant – $680.70.

The money will come from the County Attorney’s Office budget, County Clerk Donna Zimmerman said. Capital outlay expenses over $2,000 require County Commission approval, but there is not such requirement for general expenses like this.

• There was also an earlier bill for $549 from Deneise Peak, administrative assistant for Halvorsen. That was dated Nov. 28, 2018.

• The county will also pay witness Richard Unrein’s mileage from Pueblo West, Colo., at a cost of $370.60. This comes out of the county’s general fund.

• And, there was the $1,972.68 paid to the jurors. These funds came from the District Court.


Bellendir was acquitted on Nov. 16, 2018, of the misdemeanor ill-treatment of a confined person, in Barton County District Court. 

He was charged with mistreatment of Nathan B. Manley. The prosecution alleged that on Aug. 10, 2017, Manley was detained in handcuffs by Bellendir, who spoke to him in a “vulgar, rude and/or angry manner” and struck him on the side of the head.

Halvorsen was assigned by 20th Judicial District Chief Judge Mike Keeley at the request of Barton County Attorney Amy Mellor. The case itself was investigated by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, also at the request of Mellor. 

Senior Judge Edward Bouker from Hays was assigned to preside over the case after Keeley recused himself.

It took the six-person jury about 20 minutes to find Bellendir not guilty following a three-day trail.