KINGMAN – A defense attorney contends a severe substance abuse problem is the only explanation for the bizarre behavior of a transient at the Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport. Police said Kurt Baxter, 30, cleared a security fence before using bolt cutters to damage utility panels, fuses and wires to cause a power outage involving the airport control tower on Oct. 21.

Baxter evaded security personnel but was arrested the next day. He pleaded guilty to burglary in Nov. and appeared for sentencing on Friday, Dec. 15.

Mohave County Public Defender Jovan Ruvalcaba said Baxter recognizes his drug addiction troubles and intends to address and correct them going forward. Prosecutor Leah Nelson requested a 90-day jail sentence, arguing that Baxter’s actions posed public safety threat even though no one was injured by the brief outage at the airport.

Superior Court Lee Jantzen granted Baxter a bit of a break, ordering his release from custody ten days before Christmas and eight days before his birthday. “I’ve got kids about your age. Time to grow up,” Jantzen said.

Jantzen ordered a 54-day jail sentence and credited Baxter for the 54 days already spent in custody. He placed Baxter on probation for three years and warned that violations could result in prison time.