?Mary McDonald has worked on some tough cases during her career. As former Harvey County attorney, she played a role in many local cases that made news headlines, such as a north Dillons shooting, the Rhonda Krehbiel murder and a $1 million theft from Bethel College.?Yet McDonald isn’t one to back down from a challenge, and her passion for justice led her to the successful conclusion of many of those cases.?Although McDonald spent time working for the city of Wichita as a prosecutor, she is now back in Harvey County and has opened a new law office in Newton.?“I’m ready for a new challenge,” she said. “I’m ready to try something a little different.”?McDonald graduated from law school in 1988 at the age of 23. She became the assistant Harvey County attorney in May 1990, then served as the Harvey County attorney from January 1992 to March 2000. She was the first — and so far, only — female Harvey County attorney. She served as chief prosecutor for the city of Wichita and as assistant attorney, criminal division, until July. She’s won awards for her DUI prevention work and has served on the state of Kansas Child Death Review Board. She also teaches criminal law at National American University.?“I’ve been blessed,” she said. “I’ve had a very interesting career.”
Looking back??The 1990s were a busy time for the Harvey County attorney’s office.?“There were a lot of interesting cases,” McDonald said. “... We had a lot of high profile cases back then.”?Rhonda Krehbiel’s murder was one of the county’s toughest — and most heart-breaking — cases, McDonald said. It’s a case that went unsolved for many years, until DNA testing became sophisticated enough to allow for more conclusive evidence.?“It was a case that you had to use scientific principles and you had to use witness testimony,” she said. “You had to use the evidence to build the case.”?She said she was proud to be able to take a criminal who endangered the lives of community members off the streets.
Moving forward??McDonald said while she’s had a good career, she is glad to be back home in Harvey County. She continued to live in Harvey County while she worked in Wichita, and she is looking forward to working in the community again.?“The community quickly adopted me, and I adopted the community,” she said. “This is home for me.”?At her temporary office at 900 N. Poplar, Suite 300, in Newton, she offers general law services in the areas of criminal, family, administrative, government and business. She will move to her permanent location in downtown Newton — 123 W. Fifth St. — in October or November.?“It’s always nice to be where you want to be, and to be around the people who make you feel at home,” she said.?For more information, call 804-4350.