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By Sandy Schroth

Orchard woman sentenced to county jail


November 4, 2021

The Honorable Mark Johnson, presiding from the bench in the Antelope County district courtroom in Neligh last week, sentenced two individuals who had previously been convicted pursuant to plea agreements.

Hope M. Petite, 27, appeared for sentencing on four counts. On Count II, the most serious of the four, third-degree assault, a Class 1 misdemeanor, Johnson ordered her to spend 180 days in the Antelope County Jail. She was given credit for 56 days served prior to sentencing. Petite was also sentenced to 90 days for Count III, leaving the scene of a property-damage accident, a Class 2 misdemeanor; and 30 days each for counts IV and V, willful reckless driving, Class 3 misdemeanors. The jail time for Count II is ordered consecutive to time in counts III, IV and V, which are ordered concurrent to one another. She was also ordered to pay $164 restitution to Lucas Schneider and was taxed $148 costs of prosecution.

A felony assault charge had been dismissed by Antelope County prosecutor Joe Abler, per the plea deal.

Petite’s court-appointed lawyer, Martin Klein of Neligh, told the judge Petite and the victim were going through a “custody fiasco” in Holt County, but she now knows what she needs to do for herself and her child. He acknowledged her criminal history.

“I would like to apologize for my actions,” Petite told the judge. “I am in a better place now.”

When asked by Johnson why she had contact with victim while out on bond, she said, “Just to ask about my child.”

“So, what I said made no difference?” he asked, lecturing her on the seriousness of the proceedings.

Johnson then reviewed his findings in the case, which he said led him to believe she would not comply with probation terms, a sentence less than incarceration would depreciate the seriousness of the offense and incarceration was necessary for protection of herself and others.

“You need to consider your behavior in civilized society if you want to remain out of jail,” he told her. “Think about how you interact with people.”

Petite was remanded to the custody of Antelope County sheriff Robert Moore to serve her sentences.

Andrew D. Herley, 20, of Neligh faced Johnson for sentencing on a conviction of attempted possession of a stolen firearm, a Class 3A felony committed May 2.

Herley pleaded guilty Aug. 25 after reaching a plea agreement. In exchange, Abler reduced the original complaint, possession of a stolen firearm, a Class 2A felony. Herley was arrested after a .22 magnum rifle, taken from the pickup of a Brunswick farmer, was located in the defendant’s vehicle.

Herley’s attorney, public defender Pat Carney, asked Johnson to follow a sentencing recommendation, for probation, included in a presentence investigation report. Abler agreed.

“It was an impulse thing…he (Herley) has no good explanation,” Carney said. “He has already suffered consequences…regarding his employment, his peers and family. It was not indicative of the past, not indicative of the future.”

Johnson did not follow the recommendation for probation. Instead, he fined Herley $750 and assessed $148 costs of prosecution.

“That would have been a nice rifle,” he told Herley.

Johnson said he took several things into account in deciding on Herley’s sentence.

“This is a theft,” he said. “But this is a young man as well. Other than a couple MIPs, his history is clear.”


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