On bended knee and shackled feet, a 38-year-old Atchison County Jail inmate hobbled across the courtroom floor and proposed to his significant other during some unexpected action Friday in district court.

Gale Hewitt asked Tabetha Schmelzle to marry him and she said yes as she accepted a ring passed over a wooden, gate, via corrections officer, separating the audience from inmates and court officials.

Hewitt was initially at the bench to address his court matters when he asked District Court Judge Robert Bednar for permission to say a few words. Permission was granted.

“Thank you,” Hewitt told Bednar. “I have it written down so I won’t screw this up.” As Hewitt proceeded to read his written words of endearment before the bench, he turned toward his intended who seated in the audience. Then he dropped to his knees to make a closer approach toward Schmelzle.

Hewitt romantically announced to Schmelzle that he knows she is the one for him. Seemingly it appeared Schmelzle was unaware that her engagement would be forthcoming.

She move up to a bench in a row closer to her intended, accepted the proposal and the ring that was slipped onto her finger. Following the expression of love, Hewitt joined the other inmates awaiting their escort back to the law enforcement center, and Schmelzle exited the courtroom.

Hewitt is currently serving time concerning probation violation rising from some 2014 misdemeanor matters.

Mary Meyers can be reached

at mary.meyers@npgco.com.

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