HARD TIMES: Documents Show Former Deputy Endured Family, Financial Troubles

By Lee White

Five marriages, three ending in divorce and one in his spouse’s death. Two paternity cases. Back taxes. A foreclosure. A protection-from-abuse order filed against him. A protection-from-abuse order he and his mother filed against his father. His mother’s illness and death. Public records show life has been difficult for Michael Anthony Stone, the former Butler County Sheriff’s deputy who had his state law enforcement certification revoked Tuesday.

The Kansas Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (Kansas C-POST) revoked Stone’s certification following a complaint I filed July 10 concerning his 1995 misdemeanor domestic violence conviction in California. Click here to view the court records. Although the conviction was expunged, Kansas law does not allow officers to serve even with an expunged domestic violence conviction. Nevertheless, Stone did serve, first as a deputy from 2001 to 2010, then as police chief in Florence, and finally as a police officer and dog handler on the Marion Police Department from 2012 until he resigned August 5.

This account of Stone’s life was gleaned from court documents or online searches of court or public agency databases in California, Kansas, and Oklahoma. Due to privacy concerns and, in some instances, agreements with sources, many names are withheld and certain supporting documents are not published on the blog.

On December 15, 1995, Stone pleaded no contest to inflicting corporal injury on his wife, Misty, whom he had married exactly three months earlier. The two were living in Rosamond, California, an unincorporated community of 18,000 in the Mojave Desert north of Los Angeles. The first of their two sons had been born in 1993. Stone completed probation early and, by September 1996, the family had relocated to El Dorado. Their second son was born the following April.

On March 11, 1997, Stone telephoned the California court stating that he needed something indicating that he could carry a gun because he was applying for a job as a correctional officer. Nine days later, his public defender sought and was granted an expungement of the case under California Penal Code 1203.4. The law (click here to view it) has its limitations — federal courts have repeatedly held that it does not restore gun rights — and some of those limitations are required to be spelled out in the judge’s written order:

“The order shall state, and the probationer shall be informed, that the order does not relieve him or her of the obligation to disclose the conviction in response to any direct question contained in any questionnaire or application for public office, for licensure by any state or local agency, or for contracting with the California State Lottery Commission.

“(2) Dismissal of an accusation or information pursuant to this section does not permit a person to own, possess, or have in his or her custody or control any firearm…”

Stone got the job at the El Dorado Correctional Facility. When he filed for divorce from Misty in July 1998, he provided much of the timetable above and listed his employer as “EDCF” on the petition’s Domestic Relations Affidavit. Stone alleged in the affidavit that Misty had taken their two boys to California against his wishes on June 20. Michael Stone secured from the court temporary orders granting him custody of the boys and awarding him child support. His father, Andrew, served the papers on Misty in Los Angeles County on July 14.

The children eventually went to live with Misty in Derby until her death at the age of 32 on March 10, 2008. The autopsy report lists the cause of death as methadone toxicity. It notes that she was severely injured in an on-duty traffic collision in 2001 while serving as a Wichita police officer and subsequently became dependent on prescription pain medication.

About two years before her death, Misty filed this protection-from-abuse order against Michael Stone. The order was eventually dismissed for lack of prosecution, but in her affidavit, Misty described the events that led up to the filing of the California domestic violence case:

“One night it was so bad I called his father for help. His father, Andrew Stone, called the police and fire dept. Mike Stone left and they issued a warrant. They took myself and my 1 1/2 year old son down to the station to take pictures and to take my statement. He was charged and convicted of DV assault in 1995, while we lived in Rosamond, Kern County, CA.” 

Following the 1998 divorce from Misty, Michael Stone would face a paternity case filed in 2000 by the State of Kansas on behalf of a Wichita woman who gave birth to a son on December 1, 1999. The court found that Stone was the father and ordered him to pay child support. In a separate case filed in Butler County in 2008 by the state on behalf of a Maryland woman, a judge determined he had fathered a girl born October 14, 1992, while he and the mother resided in California. The court ordered child support withheld from his paycheck until 2012.

Stone would marry again in April 2001, according to a marriage license application filed in Garfield County, Oklahoma. The marriage was short lived and Stone subsequently married Rebecca Anne Denchfield, a Eureka woman who worked at the El Dorado Correctional Facility. That marriage ended tragically late in the evening of June 21, 2003, when Becky died of a gunshot wound to the head. Her death was ruled a suicide.

On March 13, 2004, Stone married a Towanda woman named Debbie. While he was married to Debbie, Stone lost his house in Douglass to foreclosure. A judge signed the journal entry of judgment on December 6, 2006.

About two months later — on February 8, 2007 — Michael Stone and his mother, Hilda, sought a protection-from-abuse order in Butler County District Court against his father, Andrew. That same day, Stone’s wife, Debbie, sought a protection-from-stalking order against Andrew. Both orders were later dismissed, the former for lack of evidence and the latter for lack of prosecution. The Butler County District Court Clerk’s office refused to release the affidavits for either case because they are sealed.

By October 1, 2008, Stone’s marriage to Debbie was ending. She filed for divorce that day, claiming in the Domestic Relations Affidavit that Stone was self-employed at Creek Decorative Concrete, which was located at his residence near hers in Towanda. In response to a Kansas Open Records Act request, Butler County reported Stone was employed as a deputy from October 25, 2001, to July 21, 2010.

Court records also indicate Stone ran afoul of the Tax Collector. Butler County sought a $1,075.36 garnishment for property taxes in 2009. That same year, the Kansas Department of Revenue sought a $9,150.08 garnishment against Stone for back income taxes in a Sedgwick County District Court case.

Also in 2009, a Butler County District Court judge appointed an Augusta woman as guardian for Stone’s mother, Hilda, who was living in a nursing home. Stone was advised of the action, which was filed by the State of Kansas, but court records do not indicate why a volunteer for the Kansas Guardianship Program and not Stone was appointed to oversee Hilda’s medical decisions.

Records indicate Hilda Stone died of lung cancer on January 25, 2012. A photo on the K9 Legion Facebook page showed an urn with Stone’s mother’s ashes near an urn containing the ashes of a police dog he handled while a Marion officer. Stone took the page down shortly after this blog post appeared. This post originally contained a link to the page. Stone also removed the page for a few weeks after news of his resignation broke in early August.

Stone married his current wife, Alicia, in February 2010 some five months before leaving Butler County for the Florence Police Department. They remain together today. She recently went to work as a community corrections officer for the Eighth Judicial District, according to her Facebook page.