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Charges upheld for former FHSU student

7/21/2013

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

A former Fort Hays State University student was bound over Friday for trial on a series of charges stemming from a sexual assault in early March.

In doing so, Phillips County District Magistrate Judge Paula Hofaker turned aside a request by defense attorney Paul Oller to dismiss one of the three charges filed against 21-year-old Leaton R. McClelland, Holcomb.

The assault is alleged to have occurred during the early morning hours of March 3 in a residence in the 400 block of West Fifth.

Two women -- a 17-year-old woman and a 20-year-old woman -- reported the incident to police later that day.

McClelland now will face trial on charges of rape, aggravated burglary and attempted aggravated sexual battery, all felonies.

After listening to nearly 3.5 hours of testimony Friday, Oller said Hofaker should make her decision on the rape and burglary charges based on the testimony. But he argued the evidence didn't support the attempted aggravated battery charge.

Hofaker disagreed and ordered McClelland to stand trial on three counts.

Ellis County Attorney Tom Drees disagreed, as did Hofaker, who said McClelland should stand trial on all three counts.

She also turned aside a request from Oller to reduce the bond for McClelland. It's the second time she's done so.

Oller wanted the bond reduced to $20,000, and said the police chief in Holcomb -- where McClelland is now living with his parents -- had agreed to supervise him.

Hofaker based her refusal to lower the bond on the seriousness of the charges, but said Oller could bring up his request to District Judge Preston Pratt, who ultimately will preside over the trial.

McClelland remains free on $100,000 bond.