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By Sandy Schroth
Editor 

County court cases resolved by plea deals

 

September 10, 2020



Dennis C. Statler, 50, of Neligh faced the Honorable Donna Taylor last Wednesday, Sept. 2, in the Antelope County courtroom for sentencing on a Class 1 misdemeanor count of domestic assault, cause body injury, committed March 31.

He was sentenced to a 12-month term of probation, including related fees totaling $390 and $60 costs of prosecution.

In addition to standard terms of probation, Statler was ordered to complete a co-occurring evaluation and to follow recommendations; complete an initial diagnostic interview for Batterer’s Intervention Program; and follow recommendations of mental health providers, taking all medications as prescribed.

After Statler admitted regular marijuana use until two weeks prior to sentencing, Taylor said he would likely test positive for two more weeks. If he is not testing clean by Oct. 1, he is ordered to appear Oct. 21 for resentencing.

Statler was represented by Martin Klein of Neligh.

Several cases were resolved Wednesday, when plea agreements were announced by attorneys.

Laura B. Buckingham, 31, of Scribner, who faced a potential six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine if convicted, pleaded guilty to a Class 2 misdemeanor count of third-degree assault, by mutual consent. She was transported to court by sheriff Bob Moore from the Madison County Jail. She is facing felony charges in Madison County as well as charges in Cumming and Dodge counties.

In exchange for her guilty plea, county prosecutor Joe Abler agreed to file no additional charges related to a June 22 fight in Orchard and recommended a sentence of 10 days in the county jail.

Buckingham said she had gone to the other party’s home to braid her hair when the other party started a fight. Taylor asked if she wished to plead not guilty due to self-defense. Buckingham declined.

Taylor sentenced her to the 10 days, with $50 costs of prosecution to be paid or sat out prior to release. She was remanded to the custody of Moore.

Buckingham was represented by public defender Melissa Figueroa of Norfolk.

Hugo Estrada, 28, of Grand Island pleaded guilty to disturbing the peace, a Class 2 misdemeanor that was reduced by Abler from assault by mutual consent, a Class 3 misdemeanor.

He was represented by Klein .

Taylor sentenced Estrada to a $150 fine and $50 costs of prosecution for the May 3 offense that occurred in Neligh.

Jesse J. Borer, 43, of Kearney, appeared without counsel and pleaded guilty to a count of driving under suspension, a Class 3 misdemeanor committed July 23. He told Taylor his license was suspended due to nonpayment of child support, which he had since paid and his license was eligible for reinstatement. Taylor sentenced him $200 and $50 costs, with a provision for credit of $100 if he provides proof of a valid license by Sept. 16. Bond filed July 24 in the amount of $1,500, 10%, was exonerated with $135 held by the county applied to fine and costs.

Raymond F. Poli, 43, of Neligh also changed his previous not guilty pleas on two counts after a plea agreement. Abler agreed to file no additional charges in the case and recommend fines at sentencing. Poli pleaded guilty to counts committed May 20 in Neligh, disturbing the peace and no operator’s license, both Class 3 misdemeanors.

Abler said Poli had parked a motorcycle behind an officer’s home and, when asked to move it, got into an argument over a previous issue. Poli was represented by Figueroa, who told the judge her client was regretful.

Taylor fined him $200 and $75, respectively, taxed him $50 costs of prosecution and offered some advice for the future.

“If you ever come back here and are sent to jail, you will go there directly,” she said. “It’s hard to live in this part of the country without a driver’s license, you really need to get a license or move to a city.”

Jonathan R. McConnell, 29, of Bluff City, Tennessee, appeared for a pretrial hearing on a Class W misdemeanor driving under the influence, + .15 (.186) charge. He changed his previous not guilty plea to guilty. In return Abler agreed to file no additional charges in the case and recommend a seven-day jail sentence. On his behalf, Klein requested sentencing that day, saying his client had traveled from Tennessee to take care of the case.

Taylor sentenced him to seven days in jail, with credit for one day previously served, and a $500 fine. She ordered $422 costs of prosecution paid prior to release or sat out. She said $372 of the costs was for a blood-alcohol test at Antelope Memorial Hospital. Abler said the county’s Datamaster testing machine was not used due to COVID-19. Bond in the amount of $1,500, 10%, was exonerated with $135 held by the county applied to fine and costs. Taylor remanded McConnell to the custody of the county sheriff. He was handcuffed by court bailiff Lyle Juracek and seated until a deputy arrived to transport him to the county jail.

McConnell was represented by Klein.

Robert Carnes Jr., 43, of Elgin faced Taylor for a pretrial hearing on a Class 1 misdemeanor count of DUI, in excess of .15% (.196), second offense. He changed his not guilty plea to guilty. In return, Abler agreed to reduce the charge to second-offense DUI, .08; not file additional charges in the case; and recommend probation at sentencing.

Taylor ordered a presentence evaluation by a certified drug and alcohol counselor and set sentencing for Oct. 21.

Carnes was arrested July 3 one mile east of Oakdale on Highway 275. Bond filed July 4, in the amount of $3,000, 10% cash, is continued. He is represented by Figueroa.

Patrick J. Linthicum, 32, of Oakdale appeared for a pretrial hearing on a charge of DUI, +0.15 (.189), first offense. He changed his plea to guilty. In return, Abler agreed to file no additional charges in the case and recommend probation.

Taylor ordered a presentence drug and alcohol evaluation by a certified counselor and set sentencing Oct. 21. Bond, in the amount of $10,000, 10%, is continued. He is represented by Figueroa.

Addison S. Woodard Junior, 47, of Elgin appeared without counsel to request early release from probation. Woodard had been sentenced to nine months supervision under the Nebraska probation office for a conviction of assault by mutual consent, a charge that was reduced from third-degree domestic assault pursuant to a plea agreement. The term of probation is set to be completed Dec. 3.

Woodard cited a need to travel out of state on short notice for his work, claiming his probation officer suggested he ask for early release. Taylor told him she had no information from the probation office and suggested there were other ways to deal with the probation office for out-of-state work, further stating it was his obligation to submit documents from the probation officer and his employer. She continued the case to Sept. 16.

Alexandra L. Zamudio, 26, of Tilden appeared, without counsel for arraignment on a Class 1 misdemeanor count of third-degree assault, alleged Aug. 6 in Tilden. She first pleaded guilty to the offense that carries a possible $1,000 fine and/or up to one-year incarceration, before Abler interrupted.

“Do yourself a favor and request a continuance,” he said. “We may be able to settle a different way, maybe reduce the charge.”

He said he received an email from the defendant’s mother, who was the victim.

Taylor voided Zamudio’s plea and continued the case to Sept. 29.

 

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