In 2016, Kerry Partridge Jr. allegedly broke into several homes and sheds in Barton County, taking guns, tools and more.
Partridge’s nine criminal cases with multiple counts of burglary and theft were the only cases on Wednesday’s docket in Barton County District Court. At 9 a.m., the hall outside the courtrooms was filled with subpoenaed witnesses and victims waiting to testify. Before the hour had passed, Assistant County Attorney Douglas Matthews told everyone they could leave.
“Mr. Partridge is going to waive his preliminary hearing and will enter pleas today,” Matthews said. “He will be entering a plea to felony charges.”
The state’s evidence is stronger in some cases than others, and some charges will be dismissed as part of a plea negotiation, Matthews said.
“We’re going to be asking for restitution for everything,” he said. “We’re talking about a rather large amount of money.”
Matthews said he will recommend prison time, which he estimated could range from three to 20 years under sentencing guidelines, depending on Partridge’s criminal history. A judge will set the sentence, and Partridge could still back out of the plea agreement, since he did not actually enter pleas on Wednesday.
“Mr. Partridge’s attorney and I have reached an agreement,” Matthews said. “We still need to work out the details on the plea.”
Caught in the act
Partridge was arrested on Feb. 15, 2016. According to the Great Bend Police Department, units were dispatched to the 1400 block of 12th Street at 3 a.m., after a woman reported she heard noises in her backyard near her garage.
When officers arrived, they heard a noise inside the garage, where they apprehended Partridge. They also found a bag with various tools inside it, which were likely used to pry open a window. The ceiling and wall of the garage had been damaged, and police believed the suspect had tried to create an escape from the structure when he realized he was surrounded.
The investigation led to other charges, starting with a Jan. 18, 2016, burglary in rural Great Bend. According to the criminal complaint, a .22 rifle, 12 gauge shotgun and Goya guitar were taken from a shed. Other complaints alleged the theft of a wire welder, battery charger, drill and more tools, more guns and a Bowie knife, jewelry, Oakley sunglasses, a laptop computer and cash. He was also accused of damaging doors and windows.
One woman who reported a stolen bicycle asked when evidence will be returned to the victims. The boy the bike belongs to is nearly 16 years old now, she said.
“I’ll be talking to the law enforcement people as soon as possible,” Matthews said. Victims will also be notified of the sentencing date.